PARIS President Nicolas Sarkozy's popularity has fallen sharply for a second successive month, a survey released on Tuesday showed, with French voters apparently unhappy about his economic policies and flamboyant lifestyle.
The BVA-Orange-Express opinion poll for January said only 45 percent of those questioned had a positive opinion of Sarkozy, down 6 points from the December poll, while 48 percent had a negative opinion.
It was the first time the negative views had overtaken the positive since Sarkozy took office last May.
The January drop followed a four point fall in his popularity rating in December, indicating that the French are increasingly disenchanted with their hyperactive president.
The head of BVA pollsters, Jerome Sainte-Marie, said voters were especially concerned about their purchasing power and did not believe Sarkozy had lived up to his pre-election promise to be "the president of purchasing power".
"Two thirds of French people do not think the measures announced by Nicolas Sarkozy on purchasing power are the right ones," Sainte-Marie said.
Sarkozy's support fell particularly sharply among voters aged over 65, his popularity rating plunging 11 percentage points in that group to 48 percent, Sainte-Marie added.
"That could be tied both to financial considerations and to a value judgment on his presidential style," he said.
Sarkozy has raised eyebrows in mainly Roman Catholic France with his whirlwind romance with supermodel-turned-pop star Carla Bruni.
The French president only divorced his wife Cecilia in October, but at a news conference earlier this month he hinted he might soon wed the Italian brunette.
The BVA survey of some 2,000 adults was carried out just after Sarkozy's New Year news conference, which was broadcast live on French television.
While his popularity fell, Prime Minister Francois Fillon saw a slight bounce in his ratings, which rose 2 points to 43 percent.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer, editing by Tim Pearce)