French President Francois Hollande received a massive boost in popularity in the wake of the Paris attacks, two separate polls conducted ahead of crucial local elections have shown. Both surveys found that 50% of citizens approved of his actions as the country's leader, a big step forward for the 61-year-old who only last year was considered the least popular president in modern French history.
Confidence in his work leaped 22 points from a meagre 28% in November, according to an IFOP/Fiducial poll for Paris Match. A separate analysis by TNS-Sofres One Point for Le Figaro had him climbing a shorter 15-points margin – from 35% to 50% – over the same period.
The pollsters quizzed 983 and 1,000 people respectively between 26 and 28 November. A similar trend was recorded after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January, when Hollande's approval rating went up 21 points, from 19% to 40%. Just over a year ago, in November 2014, the socialist leader was polling as low as 12%. It remains to be seen if Hollande will be able to hold on to the new gains, as those made in January, were short-lived and faded away over a few months.
The survey's results were published days from France's regional elections, scheduled for 6 December.The Front National (FN) party is also reported to have benefited from the 13 November massacre in Paris, as security fears seem to have pushed many voters from the centre to the far-right. FN leader Marine Le Pen is expected to secure a victory in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region. Her 25-year-old niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, is also set to win her region of Provence-Côtes d'Azur.