Hollande Popularity Drops for Third Month Nearing Record Low

  • French president's approval rating slumps to 15 percent
  • Socialists increasingly negative on their own president

Francois Hollande’s approval rating fell close to a record low as his efforts to tackle unemployment and tighten security are increasingly rejected by his own supporters.

Hollande’s popularity dropped 5 percentage points in a month to 15 percent in March, the Ipsos polling institute said. That’s his lowest since Nov. 14 and approaching the record low of 13 percent set in September that year. Prime Minister Manuel Valls plunged 9 points, to 26 percent, the lowest since he took office in April 2014.

The French leader, who hasn’t yet said if he will seek a second mandate in 2017, is getting hammered in both the polls and in parliament as lawmakers from his Socialist group challenge his plans to cut protection for workers. Hollande’s cabinet will consider that bill Thursday.

“Without setting a record for unpopularity, this is one of the worse scores for Hollande since he came to office,” Ipsos analysts Brice Teinturier and Jean-Francois Doridot said in a note. “Above all it’s on the left that negative views of Hollande are growing, including from within his own Socialist Party.”

Unemployment has become a key source of discontent for the French, with the country’s 10 percent jobless rate running at twice that of the U.K. and Germany.

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