May 2, 2020 / 10:09 PM / 25 days ago

A fifth of French think Le Pen would do better job than Macron: poll

FILE PHOTO: Marine Le Pen, member of parliament and leader of French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National) party, delivers a speech during a debate on migration at the National Assembly in Paris, France, October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Only 20% of French people think far-right leader Marine Le Pen would handle the coronavirus crisis better than President Emmanuel Macron, according to an opinion poll for Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper published on Sunday.

Macron’s government has faced criticism for flip-flopping messages on whether, when and where citizens should wear masks, for failing to replenish the stock of masks before the crisis and for carrying out far fewer tests than neighbouring Germany.

Le Pen in particular has relentlessly criticised the government, saying ministers had lied about “absolutely everything”.

But she has so far failed to convince a majority of the public she would do a better job than Macron. Some 41% thought she would do worse, while 39% thought she would do neither better nor worse, according to the Ifop poll.

None of the public figures tested in the poll were thought to be able to do a better job than Macron by a majority of the French.

Twenty percent thought former president Nicolas Sarkozy would handle the crisis better, 15% thought left-wing firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon would, and only 8% thought former Socialist leader Francois Hollande would do a better job.

Trust in Macron’s government remained low, however, with 39% of the French saying they trusted his government to face the coronavirus crisis efficiently, stable from a week ago but down from 55% in March.

In a sign economic measures were better received, some 47% of French people said they trusted the government to do the right thing for struggling companies, up 1 point from a week ago but down from 57% in March.

The poll was taken after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe unveiled his plan to gradually unwind from May 11 a lockdown imposed since March 17.

Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Alistair Bell

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