PARIS - Almost two-thirds of French people found Emmanuel Macron's speech extending the country's lockdown convincing, according to an opinion poll published on Tuesday, in a sign the president's more humble tone had appeased rising criticism.

Acknowledging his country had not been sufficiently prepared early on to face the challenges posed by the new coronavirus outbreak, Macron on Monday struck a more empathetic note in contrast to the war-like rhetoric of his previous speeches. 

According to the OpinionWay poll for Les Echos newspaper, 62% of the French found Macron's 30-min speech "convincing", while 37% said he wasn't "very" or "at all" convincing.

Macron extended the French lockdown until May 11, in a televised address watched by a record 36.7 million people, more than half of France's population. He said the crisis had revealed faults and deficiencies in the state's preparation.

Although Macron's popularity initially shot up after he followed Italy and Spain in introducing drastic curbs on public life, the government has since faced accusations of failing to address a shortage of masks and testing kits. 

"The intervention has been effective. But the rebound in confidence (in the government) will have to stay the course," said analyst Bruno Jeanbart from OpinionWay.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by Barbara Lewis) ((; +33149495071; Reuters Messaging: Twitter: