Anything other than a Nicolas Sarkozy win this evening would be a huge upset. The latest polls show him with a 10 point lead over Ségolène Royal (pictured left). The only crumb of hope for Royal is the high turnout with 75% of voters having already cast their ballots by late afternoon; this might be a sign that Royal’s constant fear-mongering about the consequences of a Sarko victory have got through. However, even with a huge turn-out in the first round Sarkozy still topped the poll by a comfortable margin.
How much of the French system Sarkozy will actually change is open to question. His talk of a rupture with France’s past has been decidedly toned down as the campaign has gone on. But the plans of the unions to confront him head on might provoke the notoriously combative Sarkozy into being more radical than he had planned to be.