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Hollande gets popularity boost after affair revelations

© AFP (file photo)

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2014-01-21

Far from taking a hit, French President François Hollande’s popularity seems to have been boosted – albeit by a slender margin – since revelations surfaced he was having an affair with an actress 18 years his junior.

The latest survey, by the BVA polling institute, gave him 31 percent approval, up from 26 percent in October, the lowest popularity rating for a French president in modern times.

The BVA poll was conducted on January 16 and 17 – a full week after the story broke in a French gossip magazine that Hollande was seeing 41-year-old actress Julie Gayet.

It also followed a January 14 press conference in which the French leader resolutely steered away from commenting on his alleged liaison with Gayet, preferring instead to focus on France’s struggling economy.

Meanwhile, an IFOP poll published on Monday indicates that Hollande is certainly not alone in committing infidelities, with more than half of men and a third of women in France admitting to cheating on their partners.

Growing number of infidelities

The survey was commissioned by French dating website Gleeden, which specialises in linking people up for extra-marital affairs.

The poll, which has 55 percent of men and 32 percent of women saying they had had sex outside of their normal relationships, shows that infidelity – or the number of people willing to admit it – has grown significantly since such surveys started 40 years ago.

In 1970, 19 percent of French people of both sexes admitted to having affairs, going up to 30 percent in 2001 and 43 percent in 2014.

Again, for both sexes, 46 percent said they had intimately kissed someone other than their partner.

And despite the growing number of French people admitting to being unfaithful, 68 percent of people polled believed it was still possible to have a purely monogamous relationship, while 63 percent (against 53 percent in 2010) said it was possible to enjoy a solid loving relationship while being unfaithful at the same time.

Date created : 2014-01-21

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