It looks like it's going to be too little too late for French President Nicholas Sarkozy, as the last polls to come out before the election on Sunday show him narrowing the gap with is socialist rival Francois Hollande, but that the leftist candidate appears poised for a win.
Sarkozy, disliked by many voters for his handling of the economy, promised he could come out victorious on Sunday. Speaking on Europe-1 radio Friday, he said much will depend on whether French voters bother to cast ballots in an election that polls have always predicted Hollande would win.
But he also sounded increasingly philosophical and prepared for possible defeat.
Asked Friday what he would do if he loses, Sarkozy said simply, "there will be a handover of power."
"The nation follows its course. The nation is stronger than the destiny of the men who serve it," he said. "The fact that the campaign is ending is more of a relief than a worry."
Hollande urged his followers against complacency. "Victory is within our grasp!" he said in a rousing rally in the southern city of Toulouse on Thursday night.
Polls released Friday and Thursday show the gap between the candidates shrinking but results still solidly in Hollande's favor.
A poll by the BVA agency shows 52.5 percent support for Hollande and 47.5 percent for Sarkozy. A poll by the agency CSA shows 53 percent for Hollande and 47 percent for Sarkozy.
For both polling agencies, that was the smallest spread registered in the campaign, which a few months ago saw polls predicting Hollande winning by a crushing 60 percent to Sarkozy's 40.
Hollande has promised to govern prudently but it's clear that he plans to radically increase the deficit and endanger the austerity consensus in Europe. All bets on soveriegn defaults are off now because if France abandons austerity, it is likely that other nations on the brink will also give into the cries of the voters and change course.