A polling agency says voters favored leftists over President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling conservative party in French local elections.

The CSA agency says a telephone poll of voters shows 49.5 percent preferred Socialist candidates and their allies in municipal election runoffs Sunday. That compares to 47.5 percent for Sarkozy's UMP party.

Projections based on partial vote counts by two other polling agencies show conservatives set to lose control of some key cities.

If the polls are borne out by official counts, the result would be a setback for Sarkozy though not as big of a blow as some had expected. A major loss could hamper his ability to carry out promised reforms.