France's Hollande's approval ratings now at 36 percent

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 25, 2012 2:18 PM

PARIS (Reuters) - Only about a third of French people are satisfied with President Francois Hollande, the lowest ratings so far for his Socialist government which is struggling to combat joblessness, a poll showed on Thursday.

The OpinionWay poll for Le Figaro found 36 percent of those polled were satisfied with Hollande, versus 64 percent who said they were unhappy with his work since his May election.

Hollande's approval ratings have been steadily dropping as voters become increasingly worried over the worsening economy.

Earlier this month confidence in Hollande fell to 41 percent from 50 percent in September, another poll found. Following his election, his rating was as high as 55 percent.

Unemployment and tax policy are the two biggest grievances for the French, the survey found, and 47 percent of those polled said they thought the situation in France had deteriorated in the past six months.

In order to meet public deficit goals, Hollande's government hopes to slash 30 billion euros from next year's budget, targeting companies and mostly wealthy households with tax hikes.

But the country - which has some of the highest labor charges in the world in order to finance its welfare state - needs to concurrently boost its competitiveness.

The findings of a commissioned report on the subject by the former CEO of aviation company EADS, Louis Gallois, are expected to be revealed on November 5. The government has already said it won't cede to demands for at least 30 billion euros of social charges businesses pay to be transferred to other levies such as value added tax (VAT).

On Thursday, Hollande told a business group the government would not unveil "a miracle measure," but instead would take a series of modest steps designed to streamline administrative procedures, spur innovation and exports, and help financing for small and medium-sized businesses.

France's 2 trillion euro economy has posted no growth over the last nine months, and on Wednesday, the jobless total reached a new 13-year high.

Hollande has acknowledged it will probably take until the end of 2013 to reverse the trend in joblessness, an admission that has contributed to his tumbling approval ratings.

Some 1002 people were interviewed for the poll on October 24-25.

(Reporting By Alexandria Sage; Editing by Stephen Powell)