October 15, 2009 / 2:53 PM / 9 years ago

Silvio Berlusconi's popularity falls further: poll

ROME (Reuters) - Support for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has fallen in the past month to its lowest level since he won an election landslide last year, an opinion poll showed on Thursday.

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (L) and head of Civil Protection Guido Bertolaso (R) leave at the end of a state funeral for landslide victims at the Duomo church in Messina October 10, 2009. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

The IPR poll, published on the website of the left-wing newspaper La Repubblica, put the conservative leader’s support at 45 percent, compared with 47 percent in September and 62 percent a year ago.

The poll was carried out a few days after the Constitutional Court stripped Berlusconi of his immunity from prosecution, to which the prime minister responded that its judges, the head of state and most of the press were leftists.

The court’s action means that cases for fraud and corruption linked to his Mediaset business empire can proceed.

La Repubblica, which Berlusconi is suing over its coverage of scandals surrounding his personal life, said his reaction to the ruling had affected his popularity.

Support for his conservative government also fell, to 42 percent from 44 percent. That compared with 37 percent for the main opposition party, the Democratic Party, up 5 percentage points since the last survey.

An opinion poll published by the Corriere della Sera newspaper at the weekend put Berlusconi’s approval rating at just below 50 percent where it has been hovering in recent months since scandals about prostitutes attending parties at his residence eroded some of his support.

That poll said 72 percent of Italians disagreed with the immunity law, which Berlusconi passed after assuming office last year. Even so, Berlusconi’s popularity remained higher than that of many Italian prime ministers before him, it said.

Berlusconi said this week his own polls put his approval rating at 68 percent. He says he is the best prime minister Italy has ever had and judges who rule against him are “trying to subvert the will of the people.”

Editing by Andrew Dobbie

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