Hollande least popular French president in 30 years - poll

PARIS Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:18pm GMT

France's President Francois Hollande listens during talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Kremlin February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool

France's President Francois Hollande listens during talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Kremlin February 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool

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PARIS (Reuters) - Ten months into his mandate, President Francois Hollande scored the worst of any French president since 1981 in the TNS Sofres poll for Le Figaro magazine released on Thursday as he struggles to spur economic growth and create jobs.

Socialist voters who propelled Hollande to the presidency in May 2012 are now questioning his government's handling of an economy teetering near recession, a series of industrial layoffs and joblessness at a 15-year high.

Hollande's rating fell by 5 points in February in the monthly poll to 30 percent when respondents were asked whether they had confidence in their president to resolve the country's problems, pulled down by a 8 point drop from Socialist voters.

"Until now, the Elysee (presidential) palace could congratulate itself by saying that those who voted for the president remained loyal. That's now over," the survey said.

Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's rating also fell 5 points to 28 percent.

From November to January, Hollande's confidence rating was relatively stable, although still low, at about 35 percent in the poll, commissioned by the conservative-leaning publication.

The survey suggested Hollande has only enjoyed a short-lived boost from his military intervention in Mali, widely praised at home and by allies such the United States.

Data on Tuesday showed jobless claims rose to 3.17 million last month, the highest since July 1997, and Hollande admitted this week that sickly growth would make it harder to fulfil his pledge to stem the rise in unemployment by the end of 2013.

The survey of 1,000 people was conducted between February 21 and February 25.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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