Hollande approval rating drops 3 points to 30 pct - French poll

by Reuters
Saturday, 19 December 2015 17:30 GMT

PARIS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande's approval rating dropped by 3 points to 30 percent in December, chipping away some of his eight-point gain last month after the Nov. 13 shootings in Paris, a poll showed on Saturday.

This month's decline, following the poor performance of Hollande's Socialist party in regional elections last weekend, was not as dramatic as his seven-point fall following municipal elections in March 2014, according to the survey.

"This phenomenon of the president's rising and falling popularity was already seen following the attacks in January," said pollster BVA, referring to the Islamist militant assaults on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.

Hollande's low approval rating casts doubt on his ability to stand for re-election in 2017, however, BVA said. At the same stage, predecessors Jacques Chirac and Francois Mitterrand enjoyed popularity of 61 percent and 56 percent respectively.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls meanwhile saw his approval level slip just one point to 39 percent this month, according to BVA.

Among those surveyed by BVA, only 27 percent thought the policies of Hollande's government were fair, while 81 percent said they were ineffective.

France's right-wing National Front party recorded its best-ever showing in last Sunday's elections, even if it failed to win a region because Socialist candidates in key regions pulled out of the run-off round and threw their support to mainstream conservatives to block a Front victory.

With five regional wins out of 13, the Socialists did less badly than they had feared. But the regional vote was still a huge defeat reflecting deep disaffection with mainstream politics and frustration with Hollande's inability to cut unemployment from above 10 percent.

The poll was carried out for Orange and iTele on Tuesday and Wednesday and involved 1,172 participants aged 18 and over, according to BVA. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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