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Poll: Sarkozy's approval rating goes down
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy's approval ratings has continued on downward spiral, falling four points compared to June, with only 33 percent of French people saying that they trust him to solve their problems, according to the findings of a new opinion poll.

"The 33 percent compares poorly to the 65 percent of the respondents who expressed the opposite opinion," said an analyst, referring to the findings of the poll that was conducted by Paris- based research firm TNS-Sofres.

According to the poll, which is set to be published in the business daily Le Figaro on Saturday, 33 percent of respondents, a 5 percent decline compared to the last poll, said that they " absolutely" or "rather" trusted the president to "resolve the problems that are facing France currently".

The majority of the interviewees, 65 percent, a 4 percent increase compared to the previous poll, responded that they "not at all" or "did not rather" think that the president was capable of overcoming the current challenges facing France.

The latest poll is in a stark contrast with the last poll, when the French head of state rebounded by garnering 5 percentage points. The survey, which was conducted by the same firm in early June, had led pundits to believe that the president was once again on the way to repairing his image.

In May, the same TNS-Sofres barometer had recorded arguably the highest confidence level, 66 percent favorable opinions compared to 32 percent, since Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president over a year ago.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Francois Fillon's approval rating fell by two points, with 42 percent of respondents saying that they trusted his capacity to "solve problems afflicting France at the moment."

"This compares a little favorably to the 54 percent showed little or no confidence in his abilities," according a researcher who took part in analyzing the data collected during the poll.

Nevertheless, this is arguably the worst score recorded by the prime minister in the barometer since July 2007. With regard to the government's action, only 7 percent of the people believe that it is effective in the fight against rising prices. Further, only 9 percent of the respondents said that "things are improving" in France while 81 percent said that the situation was "getting worse".

In the list of personalities that the French want to see playing an important role in the future, Bertrand Delanoe, Paris socialist mayor, remains the frontrunner with 51 percent favorable opinions, down two points, well ahead of Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner at 44 percent.

Prominent Socialist Party stalwart Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, comes in third with an approval rating of 44 percent ahead of Prime Minister Francois Fillon who received 41 percent favorable opinions.

The latest opinion poll was conducted by using face-to-face interviews on a national representative sample population of 1,000 people aged 18 year and above, quota method, between June 25 and 26.

(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2008)

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