Hollande, Ayrault plunge in French popularity polls

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 17, 2012 3:42 PM
Hollande, Ayrault plunge in French popularity polls

PARIS (Reuters) - The approval ratings of France's Socialist President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault have fallen sharply since June, two opinion polls showed on Monday.

The polls highlight public frustration over stalled growth, unemployment at a 13-year high and a series of mass layoffs that have made the Socialist government appear impotent in the face of an economic crisis.

Hollande, preparing to unveil a 2013 budget, must cut the deficit by 30 billion euros ($39 billion) to meet European Union targets and ask parliament to ratify a European fiscal pact.

With scores as low as 44 percent, his post-election honeymoon has ended far more quickly than that of conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, whose popularity remained above 50 percent eight months into his 2007-2012 presidency.

Hollande, who was elected in May and advocates a low-key style of leadership and little involvement in day-to-day affairs, has had to step up attempts to appear proactive in fighting the crisis, adopting aspects of Sarkozy's style.

Ayrault has complained that journalists have grown too used to a Sarkozy-era pace of near daily policy announcements.

Eight percent of respondents in the BVA poll declined to offer an opinion about the prime minister's performance.

(Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Janet Lawrence)