FRANCE: Approaching a Crucial Vote

THE most crucial national election in recent French history drew closer last week—and so did the rival forces. The latest nationwide poll, published by the Paris daily Le Figaro, showed that the leftist coalition headed by Socialist Francois Mitterrand had dropped from 46% to 43% in its share of the popular vote. The governing Gaullists had 38% —up 1% from the previous week's results—while independent, middle-of-the-road reformist parties had 16% of the vote, a gain of 3%.

In France, as elsewhere, polls are intriguing but uncertain barometers. Most observers attributed the rise...