French President Emmanuel Macron's already abysmal approval ratings, which has fallen precipitously this year following an exodus of cabinet officials, tone deaf messaging over the president's "lavish" lifestyle, controversial immigration policies and a scandal involving brutality by a Macron bodyguard and confidant, have already slid to their lowest level since his presidency began, putting him on pace to eventually match the single-digit approval ratings enjoyed by his predecessor, socialist Francois Hollande, which inspired Hollande not to seek a second term.
And over the weekend, the polls dealt another embarrassment to France's youngest leader since Napoleon, when they revealed that the National Rally (formerly National Front) party's candidates for the May European Parliament election are polling higher than candidates running on Macron's "En Marche" ticket. This is the first time the far-right party has overtaken Macron's centrist movement in the polls.
As the IFOP opinion poll showed, National Rally candidates - who belong to the party led by Marine Le Pen, Macron's former opponent in the 2017 presidential campaign - were polling at 21%, compared with 19% for En Marche:
Intention de vote #Europeennes2019 hypothèse @RoyalSegolene tête de liste PS :— Ifop Opinion (@IfopOpinion) November 4, 2018
RN : 21%; +4
LREM : 19%; -1
LR : 13%; -2
FI : 11%; -3
PS : 7,5%; +1,5
EELV : 7%; -0,5
DLF : 7%; +0,5
UDI : 3%; +0,5
Générations : 2,5%; -0,5
PC : 2%; =
Sondage @IfopOpinion @LettreExpansion pic.twitter.com/4FjfNiLVtS
The ruling party appears to be outpaced by the alliance of Macron’s former presidential rival –Eurosceptic Marine Le Pen. Her National Rally (formerly Front National) gathered 21 percent of the voters against LREM’s 19 percent. This represents some strong gains by Le Pen, who lost to Macron 33% to 66% in the second round of the presidential vote.
According to RT, Le Pen, a committed eurosceptic, is apparently hoping to repeat the success of the 2014 European parliament election, when her party, the called the National Front, won a quarter of the vote. Macron formed his party in 2016 as a vehicle for supporting his presidential bid.
The deterioration in public support for Macron, who is the latest French leader, following Hollande and conservative former President Nicolas Sarkozy, to struggle with fickle public opinion so soon after his electoral win, has been akin to the candidate hitting "a brick wall."
"Emmanuel Macron has crashed into a brick wall of reality. His hold on national politics is waning, as is his influence. He’s losing control of his government," said Christian Jacob, the Republicans parliamentary leader.
In addition to migration and the various gaffes and scandals that have plagued Macron's administration, he has developed a reputation as an out-of-touch leader, particularly after he summarily dismissed the complaints of elderly French citizens following a round of pension cuts.
According to some polls, Macron's approval rating has already dipped below the level enjoyed by Hollande at a similar point in his presidency, according to the Independent. This raises the possibility that France's "hero" centrist reformer, upon whom the people had pinned their hopes to revive a moribund French economy, won't be able to follow through on his plans.