Italy's Monti approval rating falls to new low: poll

ROME Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:00am EDT

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti checks his phone during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, January 11, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti checks his phone during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, January 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Peter

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ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti's approval rating slid further in June, more than halved since he took office in November last year as higher taxes, unpopular labor reform and recession eat away at his support, a poll showed on Friday.

Monti's approval rating dropped 1 percentage point to 33 percent by mid-June compared to the start of the month, after falling steadily from a high of 71 percent when he became prime minister last year, the SWG-Agora poll showed.

When asked how effective Monti's government is, three quarters of those polled said "not much" or "not at all". A quarter responded "very" or "fairly" effective.

Monti's technocrat government took over from Silvio Berlusconi last year to try to transform the economy and avert a Greek-style debt crisis.

The poll also showed a rise in the number of people who planned to vote for comedian Beppe Grillo's Five-Star movement, which has become Italy's second most popular party after dealing a stunning blow to traditional parties in local elections in May.

About 21 percent of survey respondents said they would vote for Grillo's movement, up from 20.2 percent earlier in June.

Twenty-four percent said they would vote for the center-left Democratic Party (PD), up from 23.2 percent. Voter support for Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party fell to 15 percent from 15.4 percent.

(Writing by Catherine Hornby; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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