As goes the French economy, so goes the reelection chances of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Although Sarkozy leads in round one, polls show that lead is shrinking at a pace that suggests he will not carry round one.
More importantly, Sarkozy is trailing again by double digits in polls for the decisive round two.
For those not familiar with elections in France, round one pits candidates from all the parties against each other on April 22. If no one gets 50%, the top two finishers square off in round two, on May 6.
Sarkozy struggles in polls as French economy sputters
On April 10, Reuters reported Sarkozy struggles in polls as French economy sputters
President Nicolas Sarkozy's drive to persuade voters he is the best man to lead France to economic recovery suffered a blow on Tuesday, with a survey indicating growth has ground to a halt as he struggles to make headway over his Socialist election rival.
Two weeks before the presidential elections begin, the conservative's lead over Francois Hollande is becalmed or shrinking for the first round on April 22 and he is still trailing in the runoff next month, three opinion polls showed on Tuesday.
With unemployment claims at over a 12-year high, people's purchasing power dwindling and France stripped of its prized AAA status with one credit rating agency, the Bank of France offered Sarkozy's economic record little respite.
In his manifesto, Sarkozy promised to achieve a budget surplus for the first time since 1974 and cut France's swelling debt if re-elected, warning that Hollande would lead the country towards the fate of Greece or Spain.
However, his policy of cutting the budget deficit is helping to slow the economy and hurting his election chances.
"You cannot have a tough fiscal adjustment over two years and expect strong growth at the same time," said Michel Martinez, economist at Societe Generale in Paris.