The poll found that 27% of those surveyed believed Hollande would “be most able to have influence at the European Union level”, against 65% for Sarkozy.
“Such a difference can be partly explained by Nicolas Sarkozy’s current status, who has already had the opportunity to test his abilities to act at the European level, unlikely François Hollande,” said Mark Kubista of the CSA Institute.
Supporters of the far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen and centrist François Bayrou overwhelmingly considered Sarkozy to be more able to influence Brussels. Those who backed far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon were almost evenly divided, giving a slight edge to Sarkozy, 45% to 43%.
Socialist voters gave an outright majority in favour of Hollande with 63%.
The poll was done by the CSA Institute and commissioned by EurActiv France and the fact-checking website Vigie2012. The survey was conducted 24-25 April, after the first round of presidential voting, with 1,004 adults questioned by telephone.