September 13, 2009 / 5:29 PM / 10 years ago

Sarkozy popularity falls on crisis response: poll

PARIS (Reuters) - The popularity of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has hit a four-month low, according to a survey that showed most people interviewed did not support his response to the global economic crisis.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) greets Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as he arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris September 11, 2009. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The president’s approval rating fell to 44 percent in the first week of September from 48 percent in mid-August, according to the opinion poll carried out by Viavoice for French daily newspaper Liberation.

This compared with a smaller drop of 2 points to 48 percent for Prime Minister Francois Fillon, the survey showed.

Fifty-four percent of those questioned said they had a negative view of Sarkozy, while the total was 47 percent for Fillon.

Fifty-eight percent of interviewees judged Sarkozy’s response to the financial and economic crisis over the last year to have been negative.

In another French poll by BVA-Les Echos-France Info-Absoluce in a preview edition of Monday’s Les Echos newspaper, 52 percent of those asked said they felt Sarkozy had managed the situation following the global economic and financial crisis well.

But almost two-thirds of participants said the billions released to save the financial system and stimulate activity had been badly used, Les Echos said.

Major companies and banks, and not workers, had benefited most from the president’s policies, which had not led to better regulation of capitalism or supervision of banker and trader bonuses, according to the views expressed in the Viavoice poll.

The survey reveals “the judgment of the French on Sarkozy’s policies in the face of the crisis is negative,” Viavoice associate director Francois Miquet-Marty said in a statement accompanying the survey.

“In their eyes, the economic and financial system has not been reformed, the stimulus plan is not effective enough and the policies being followed appear unjust,” he added.

The Viavoice survey was carried out by phone on September 3 and September 4 and involved 1,006 interviewees aged 18 and over, according to Viavoice.

The poll in Les Echos was carried out by phone on September 11 and September 12 and featured 1,002 participants aged 15 and over.

Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Louise Ireland and Matthew Jones

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