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Sarkozy Approval at Lowest for Incumbent President, Poll Shows

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Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Nicolas Sarkozy’s approval rating is the lowest of any outgoing French president four months ahead of a presidential vote, Le Journal du Dimanche reported, citing an Ifop poll.

The percentage of French voters satisfied with Sarkozy’s presidency was 34 percent, unchanged from November, the poll showed. Prime Minister Francois Fillon’s rating rose to 48 percent from 44 percent a month earlier, according to the poll.

Sarkozy’s approval rating at this point ahead of the presidential elections compares with 52 percent for Charles de Gaulle in 1965, Valery Giscard d’Estaing’s 40 percent in 1980, Francois Mitterrand’s 56 percent in 1987 and Jacques Chirac’s 54 percent in 2001, Jean-Luc Parodi, an Ifop consultant, wrote in the newspaper.

Ifop polled 1,851 people aged 18 or more through telephone interviews between Dec. 8 and Dec. 16, showing Sarkozy hasn’t gained from efforts he put in to stem Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. The 17 countries that share the euro agreed to forge a tighter fiscal union at a summit in Brussels on Dec. 9. Sarkozy has attempted to position himself for a 2012 re-election campaign as the most credible candidate on economic matters.

A separate Ifop poll for the JDD on Dec. 16 showed that Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s anti-euro National Front, is gaining support as backing for Sarkozy and Socialist candidate Francois Hollande stalls.

About 20 percent would back Le Pen if an election were held now, up from 19 percent a month ago and 17 percent in October, according to the poll. Support for Sarkozy has dropped to 24 percent from 26 percent a month ago and backing for Hollande has declined to 27.5 percent from 32.5 percent, the poll showed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fabio Benedetti-Valentini in Paris at fabiobv@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net; Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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