Hollande's popularity rises slightly after news of affair

PARIS (AFP) - Popular approval for French President Francois Hollande rose slightly around the time news broke of his affair with an actress, according to the latest poll published on Monday.

But overall support for the 59-year-old Socialist head of state remains very low, at just 31 per cent, according to the BVA polling institute.

Mr Hollande appeared to gain four points in positive opinions after he gave a Jan 14 news conference in which he resolutely steered away from much comment on his liaison with actress Julie Gayet to focus on France's struggling economy, the poll conducted Jan 16 and 17 showed.

The fillip was in comparison with the previous survey carried out two weeks earlier.

Nevertheless, 80 per cent of respondents said they believed Mr Hollande's governance was ineffective.

A positive rating of just 26 per cent recorded in October last year made Mr Hollande the most unpopular French president of modern times.