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Poll Indicates Sarkozy Outshone Royal in Debate

French voters believe right-wing presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy outshone his Socialist rival Segolene Royal in the election campaign's one and only televised debate, according to an opinion poll on Thursday.

Conducted after Wednesday's lively and sometimes tense debate between the two contenders, the Opinonway poll showed Sarkozy was the more convincing of the two during the debate, scoring 53% to Royal's 31%.

The former interior minister saw the proportion of people who hoped to see him win the second round of the election on May 6 rise to 52% after the debate compared with 48% before. For Royal, the figure rose to 37% from 36%.

The poll was based on the opinions of 978 people who watched the debate.