President Francois Hollande's approval rating has plunged to a new low after his socialist government unveiled a budget packed with tax hikes and unemployment surged to record levels, a poll showed on Wednesday.
Confidence in Hollande fell to 41 percent from 50 percent in September, according to the TNS Sofres poll. In June, shortly after he was elected in May, it was as high as 55 percent.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's rating also took a knock, dropping to 41 percent from 51 percent in September.
The poll was the first since Hollande's government presented a 2013 budget bill that mapped out France' biggest post-war belt-tightening effort, targeting companies and mostly wealthy households with 10-billion-euro tax hikes each.
The government says such measures are necessary if it is to meet its public deficit goal of 3 percent of gross domestic product and to remain in favour with financial markets, which are currently lending to France at close to record low rates.
Even before the budget was unveiled, Hollande's ratings had been suffering as voters began to become increasingly anxious about the worsening economic outlook and mounting unemployment.
France's 2 trillion euro economy has posted zero growth over the last three quarters while jobless claims have steadily climbed to breach the psychologically important level of 3 million people, a more than 13-year high.
The poll was conducted on September 28-October 1 for Le Figaro Magazine and was based on interviews with 1,000 people over the age of 18.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Andrew Osborn)