French President Francois Hollande

Paris - Only three per cent of voters would like to see French President Francois Hollande as the Socialist Party candidate in the next election, an opinion poll showed Thursday.

But while the poll spelt out the extent of Hollande's current unpopularity, it made far better reading for his newly-appointed prime minister, Manuel Valls.

Far more voters would like to see him as the Socialist Party (PS) candidate for the 2017 election, the OpinionWay poll for Le Figaro magazine showed, with more than a quarter (26 per cent) backing him for the role.

Voters were asked: “Who out of the following would you prefer to see as the PS candidate for the presidential election?”

More popular than the current president were also the mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry, who was backed by ten per cent of those polled, and Segolene Royal, Hollande's former partner, who was backed by six per cent.

While the current minister for the economy also received a few votes, more than half of those questioned, who were from across the political spectrum, said “none of the above”.

Among those who identify as PS voters, the reading was slightly less dire, but still not too promising for Hollande, who only took office in 2012.

Among party supporters, 40 per cent said they would like Valls to run, compared to just 15 per cent who would support the president.

Hollande, who consistently polls as the least popular president of modern times, received a drubbing in last week's European elections, with his party registering a record low vote of just under 14 percent.

His party was pushed into third place behind the far-right National Front as voters unhappy with the unemployment figures, austerity measures and stagnant growth punished the government.

Valls, a former interior minister, was appointed PM in March.

The Le Figaro poll was carried out just ahead of the elections, and featured 2,500 voters.