A Ifop poll released on Sunday showed that the approval rating of France's new President Emmanuel Macron tumbled by 10 points, hitting 54% in his third month in office, as voters were "either confused by plans for the tax system, shocked by a dispute with the head of the army or unsettled by upcoming labor laws reform", according to Journal dy Dimanche.
According to Bloomberg calculations, the 10 point slump for Macron, elected in early May, was the second-biggest decline for a French president so soon after election. Jacques Chirac dropped 15 points from his May 1995 election to July, the Paris-based pollster said. The survey for JDD was conducted by phone and online July 17-22 among 1,947 respondents.
While Macron made a strong start on the world stage and won a solid majority in parliament, dark clouds have emerged in recent weeks, especially after he was widely criticized by opponents and the press as heavy-handed after a row over budget cuts that ended with the resignation of a highly-regarded military chief, who infamous told a parliamentary committee "I won't let myself be fucked" before he resigned.
As The Local.fe reports, France's youngest-ever president, who has sought to project an image of authority since taking office in May, made clear during the row with the military boss that he would brook no insubordination as commander-in-chief. The leftist Liberation newspaper said Macron's "little authoritarian fit" could be a sign he was drunk on power and said it was time for him "to grow up a bit".
The 39-year-old leader has also backed a controversial bill to toughen France's security laws that includes measures some rights groups have branded as draconian. His majority in parliament has drawn concern, with opponents and several newspapers expressing concern over the concentration of power in the presidency.
Despite the steep drop, Macron’s rating is still quite high, especially compared with his predecessors. In September 1981, Francois Mitterand had 48% approval, Francois Holland could boast 56 percent in July 2012, and only Nicolas Sarkozy scored much better in July 2007, with 66 percent.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s approval rating also fell, dropping by 8 points to 56 percent said the poll of 1,947 adults carried out from July 17th-22nd.
“Macron’s entry in the atmosphere is brutal, he’s facing the brunt of several sectors in society,” Jerome Fourquet, the head of Ifop opinion polls, told Journal du Dimanche quoted by Bloomberg. Fourquet said a tax increase that will hit retirees, new measures that that will curtail civil servants’ advantages and his demonstrations of “authoritarian style” in some cases were among reasons cited by those surveyed. “Some of those polled were openly criticizing a presidency based on communication,” he added.
There is hope the recent plunge won't continue, as the French leader’s agenda this week could help him move on from the domestic troubles. His first event Monday is a conference call with Germany’s Angela Merkel, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Later in the day, he’ll meet with scientists fighting the AIDS virus and he’ll finish his day with Bono, the U2 singer and co-founder of the ONE non-governmental organization.
His best chance to shine will come Wednesday at 5 p.m. when he has a meeting scheduled with the pop singer Rihanna at the Elysee presidential palace, according to his official agenda.