The vast majority of French people believe the media has gone over the top with its coverage of President Nicolas Sarkozy's romantic escapades, an opinion poll published on Wednesday said.
The TNS Sofres poll for La Croix daily said 93 per cent of people thought the media had dedicated too much space to Sarkozy's private life, while 52 per cent thought too much space was given to covering his political actions.
Sarkozy has rarely been off the front pages of newspapers and celebrity magazines in recent months following his divorce from his second wife Cecilia in October and his subsequent liaison with supermodel-turned pop singer, Carla Bruni.
The president's own popularity ratings have fallen sharply over the past two months, with voters apparently turned off by the wall-to-wall coverage of his love life and anxious for more action to combat their daily economic travails.
But despite their disapproval, La Croix said stories about the French president were clearly a big draw.
magazine jumped by up to 50 per cent when a Sarkozy story was splashed on its cover. At left-leaning
weekly, sales climbed by up to 40 per cent when Sarkozy or his family appeared on the front cover.
Apparently stung by the weak opinion polls, Sarkozy has not stepped out in public with Bruni for almost three weeks and has instead launched a series of visits to the regions to talk about local problems ahead of municipal elections in March.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer)