Tuesday, September 18, 2012
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 (24 billion pounds) 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)