( dpa ) - Less than six weeks before the first electoral test of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's administration, more and more French voters are repudiating him and his government, according to a poll made public Thursday.
In the survey, which was carried out by the TNS-Sofres institute for Le Figaro Magazine, only 41 per cent of respondents said they had confidence in Sarkozy to solve the country's problems, against 55 per cent who said they did not.
That represents a fall of 8 points in a single month, and a decline of 24 per cent since he took office in May of last year.
Significantly, nearly nine of 10 people who responded to the survey said that the measures taken by Sarkozy and his government were "not effective" in combatting inflation, a primary concern among the French.
In addition, nearly seven of 10 said that things were getting worse in France, against only 15 per cent who thought the opposite, and one out of two said France's position in the world was weakening.
Sarkozy's declining popularity appears to be having an impact on the upcoming local elections, scheduled for March 9 and 16.
It is becoming increasingly likely that unless Sarkozy can change the political mood, the opposition Socialists will inflict an embarrassing defeat on him in that vote.
That, in turn, would weaken the French president just a few months ahead of France's assumption of the rotating presidency of the European Union, on July 1.
With a declining mandate at home, Sarkozy might find it more difficult to impose his ambitious proposals, some of which are already highly contested by some EU partners.