Not long ago the election was thought to be a blowout, with current president Sarkozy on the losing side. Despite a stronger than expected debate showing by challenger François Hollande, Sarkozy has been closing the 10 point deficit and inching closer over the past week. In an American-style campaign, there may have been enough time to close the gap but with campaigns lasting only a matter of weeks, it may not be enough for Sarkozy. More from The Guardian:
Socialist voters face a nervous wait for the results of today's presidential election runoff between Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande after final opinion polls following Wednesday's fiery television debate revealed a late surge in favour of the outgoing president, who has trailed his leftwing rival throughout the race.
The polls indicated that Hollande was still on track to win the second round runoff vote, but revealed that the gap between the presidential rivals had narrowed from 10 percentage points a week ago to between four and six. An Ifop poll for Paris-Match showed Hollande at 52% and Sarkozy at 48%.
On Friday, before the official midnight deadline for campaigning to end, Hollande warned his supporters not to consider the election as being in the bag. At his last campaign meeting in Périgueux in south-west France, he said the battle was not yet won.