Hollande, Ayrault approval ratings rise slightly: poll
PARIS (Reuters) - The popularity of French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has improved slightly since last month, according to an OpinionWay poll carried out for newspaper Metro and TV channel LCI.
The survey published on Sunday showed 39 percent of those interviewed were satisfied with Hollande's performance, up 1 percentage point, while 57 percent were dissatisfied, down 3 points.
The proportion of people satisfied with Ayrault rose 1 point to 36 percent, with the percentage of those dissatisfied with him decreasing by 5 points to 54 percent.
More than two-thirds of participants, or 68 percent, said they were not confident in the president's ability to reduce the country's budget deficit in coming years, according to the poll.
Hollande confirmed this week that France would miss its 2013 growth target after saying it would fail to cut the public deficit to within an EU ceiling of 3 percent of GDP this year.
The president said on Saturday that he would not introduce further austerity measures this year, instead focusing on spending cuts in 2014 to bring the deficit down to 3 percent then. He kept a goal of a zero deficit in 2017.
The poll approval ratings represent the highest figures for France's top two politicians since October, though they are below those of their predecessors at the same stage in their terms.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy's comparable rating was at 41 percent, whereas that of former prime minister Francois Fillon was at 53 percent, according to OpinionWay.
The most popular minister in the current Socialist government is Interior Minister Manuel Valls, whose approval rating rose 3 points to 60 percent, according to the poll.
The study was based on the views of 1,008 people aged 18 or over surveyed by phone between February 15 and February 20.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Rosalind Russell)
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