FRENCH President Nicolas Sarkozy gained in popularity in May according to a new opinion poll released on Thursday that will make welcome reading for the head of state after months of poor ratings.
The number of people who approve of Sarkozy rose to 37% from 32% a month earlier, according to a poll by TNS Sofres for the Figaro magazine, while the number of people who disapprove of him dropped to 61% from 66%.
The magazine called the figures “the start of a sunnier patch” for Sarkozy, whose honeymoon with the electorate after he took power a year ago ended abruptly in December.
Concerns over Sarkozy’s flashy style, whirlwind romance with pop star Carla Bruni whom he married less than three months after they started dating, and failure to lift purchasing power as promised in his campaign caused his ratings to plunge.
Several recent polls found that his popularity was at a record low for a president one year into his term.
In response, Sarkozy has tried to give less exposure to his private life and project the image of a hard-working president launching all manner of reforms to improve life for the French.
The Figaro poll found that the government’s policies on unemployment and purchasing power had become more popular in May for the first time this year, which could explain Sarkozy’s improved rating.
Jobless data released on Thursday will also make welcome reading for Sarkozy. The unemployment rate in the first quarter in mainland France fell to 7,2%, its lowest point in 25 years, the data showed.
Sarkozy has set a target of 5% by 2012, the end of his term.——Reuters.