Only 29 percent see a recent series of government and business scandals as isolated examples, the survey by BVA said, although by 38 percent to 28 percent, the French say they see competence as more important than honesty.
Sixty percent of respondents identifying themselves as left-leaning cited widespread political corruption as a problem, compared to 66 percent of those on the right, the survey said.
The number of respondents or the margin of error in the BVA survey was not identified.
The survey was released the same day French business mogul Bernard Tapie was charged in a corruption inquiry over a government payout to him, his lawyer said.
Tapie, 70, was charged with fraud for allegedly receiving 400 million Euros after the government turned to a private arbitration panel to resolve his dispute with the now-defunct bank Credit Lyonnais, Radio France Internationale reported.
Three people have been arrested in the scandal, including Stephane Richard, head of the telecommunications firm Orange. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Legarde, the former French finance minister, was questioned about her role in the 2008 scandal but has not been placed under formal investigation, Radio France Internationale said.