(Reuters) - A majority of French think former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn should not get involved in the 2012 presidential election following his return to France after a sex-assault scandal in the United States, a poll showed on Sunday.

The veteran Socialist politician had been seen as the clear favorite to challenge center-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy before his arrest in mid-May on charges of attempted rape of a hotel maid, which were dropped in August.

According to a poll by TNS Sofres, 63 per cent of French believe Strauss-Kahn should stay out of the election campaign. The former IMF chief still faces a civil case in New York as well as an accusation of attempted rape from a French writer, Tristane Banon, 30 years his junior.

French views of the Socialist party do not appear to have been dented by the scandal, however. The same survey said 76 percent of those polled said the case had had no impact on the image of the party, which next month is to hold a primary vote to pick its official candidate for the 2012 race.

(Reporting By Patrick Vignal; Writing by Lionel Laurent)