Sarkozy approval ratings plunge as elections loom large

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According to results to be published in L'Express magazine, Sarkozy's rating has plummeted by nine percentage points in a month

   PARIS, February 20, 2008  - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's approval
ratings have plunged to just 36 percent less than three weeks from municipal
elections, according to the latest opinion poll released Tuesday.
   According to results to be published Thursday in L'Express magazine by
pollsters BVA, Sarkozy's positive rating has plummeted by nine percentage
points in a month -- with 58 percent of those canvassed registering
   Pollsters say the charismatic leader's jetset itinerary -- he married his
third wife, model-turned-singer Carla Bruni, just over a fortnight ago -- has
created a perception he has forgotten election-winning pledges to boost
voters' spending power.
   "Nicholas Sarkozy has acquired a level of unpopularity rare for a French
president," BVA director Jerome Sainte-Marie said, noting that former
Socialist President Francois Mitterrand took three years to record similar
   The latest figures -- accelerating a downward trend attributed time and
again over repeated polls to his whirlwind romance -- paint a gloomy picture
of his centre-right UMP party's prospects come the mayoral ballots next month.
   For Sainte-Marie, the "essential" element in his findings is a feeling that
disenchantment with Sarkozy's results on the decisive issue of living
standards has hardened amid the president's perceived "U-turn, or simple
   Having pledged to use his presidency to combat economic fears, Sarkozy is
seemingly paying for a January declaration that the "state coffers are empty"
and that the government should not be expected to come up with a hand-out.
   Over recent days, the 52-year-old has sought to re-engage with French
voters on the ground with his political opponents casting the upcoming local
government polls as a referendum on his performance in office.


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