November 17, 2013 / 11:00 AM / 6 years ago

French president Hollande's popularity at new low in Ifop poll

France's President Francois Hollande attends a news conference at the Oceanographic museum during a one day visit in Monaco, November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) - Francois Hollande’s approval rating fell to a new low of 20 percent, the worst for a French president since the poll started in 1958, but the conservative or far-right opposition would do no better if they were in charge, two Ifop polls said.

One Ifop poll, published by Le Journal du Dimanche, showed a fall of three points from October when Hollande was shown as the most unpopular French president on record in a BVA poll, with a rating of 26 percent.

In December 1991, socialist president Francois Mitterrand sank to a low of 22 percent, while Hollande’s conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s popularity hit a low of 28 percent in April 2011 in Ifop polls,

A second Ifop poll, also held in mid-November, showed that a majority in France do not expect the opposition would do a better job. Only 25 percent of 1,003 people polled said they expected the conservative UMP party would do better and only 19 percent said the far-right National Front would do better.

Fifty-five percent said the UMP would not do better or worse, 19 percent the UMP would do worse.

The Journal du Dimanche said that the poll answers showed the French, besides feeling despair about the economic crisis, were unhappy about Hollande’s indecisive leadership style.

It said that many respondents cited Hollande’s handling of the case of a deported immigrant schoolgirl. After weeks of intense media coverage of the affair, Hollande’s compromise offer - criticized by all sides - was to let the teenager return to France but without her family.

Hollande, who arrives in Israel for a state visit on Sunday, saw his ratings slide soon after taking office in May 2012 as unemployment remains stubbornly high and the economy continues to struggles.

His government’s decision to allow gay marriage sparked weeks of massive demonstrations this year and in recent weeks France has been hit by a wave of demonstrations and roadblocks against a planned levy on truck traffic.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Louise Ireland

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