PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's approval ratings have risen slightly, a poll showed Sunday, but remain near record lows amid a row over the salary of the head of state electricity group EdF.
The Ifop poll in weekend newspaper Journal du Dimanche showed Sarkozy's approval at 38 percent, up 1 point since December. The rise was attributed partly to the government's swift provision of aid to Haiti after the earthquake.
But public outcry over reports that Henry Proglio was still drawing a salary from Veolia, the environmental services group he led before moving to run EDF in November, has proved damaging to Sarkozy weeks before regional elections in March.
Proglio agreed last week under pressure to give up the 450,000 euro salary he was drawing from Veolia, where he has retained the title of non-executive chairman.
The pay package row revived anger over a plan last year to install Sarkozy's undergraduate son, Jean Sarkozy, as head of a powerful public agency in charge of Paris's business district.
The president's ratings have slid since the uproar over his son, approaching the low of 35 percent registered by Ifop in May 2008, a year after Sarkozy took office.
Sixty-one percent of the 1,880 participants in the new survey, carried out between Jan 14-22, said they were dissatisfied with Sarkozy.
Although the government's handling of the economy, a key reason for Sarkozy's poll dip in 2008, is now viewed comparatively favourably, concerns over soaring state debt and unemployment continue to weigh.
Nevertheless, Ifop consultant and political scientist Jean-Luc Parodi told the Journal du Dimanche that some respondents had a positive view of Sarkozy's response to the Haiti crisis.
France immediately flew rescue workers to Haiti after the quake struck and Sarkozy has called for an international donor conference to rebuild the shattered country.
France has pledged 20 million euros in aid, half of which came in response to an appeal for funds from the United Nations.
(Editing by Noah Barkin)