Macron crisis: More than half of French people ‘disappointed’ by French President – poll
Fifty-five percent of those polled said they were “disappointed” by his actions as president, while 80 percent said the 41-year-old centrist had done nothing to improve their personal and financial situation. Some 71 percent of respondents said that M Macron’s tough social and economic policies had not helped “transform” France as promised. M Macron’s monarchical governing style and radical reforms early on prompted accusations of arrogance among voters and contributed to a sharp drop in his popularity.
The government was also badly shaken by months of often-violent “yellow vest” protests, which forced M Macron to pour billions of euros into raising benefits for the poorest workers and slash taxes.
The street rebellion erupted late last year over planned fuel tax hikes but quickly snowballed into a broader backlash against inequality and a political elite seen as having lost touch with ordinary citizens.
M Macron last month tentatively relaunched his reform drive, but he remains mindful of simmering anger over his reform agenda and eager to avoid fresh violence from breaking out on France’s streets.
The president wanted 2019 to see an overhaul of pensions – merging into one myriads of different systems including deficit-ridden ones at state-owned companies – and unemployment benefits.
But these were put on the back burner because of the yellow vest crisis and are now running months behind schedule.
The BFMTV poll also cast doubt over M Macron’s chances of winning a second term in office, with only 39 percent of those polled saying he would be re-elected in 2022.
The survey also showed that the next presidential race will once again shape up to be a tight battle between M Macron and his closest rival, right-wing leader Marine Le Pen.
Mme Le Pen would garner around 27.5-29 percent of the vote in the election’s first round, and M Macron 27-29 percent.
In 2017, M Macron took 66 percent of the final vote to Mme Le Pen’s 34 percent.
Even so, it was a record performance for the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) – then known as the Front National – and underlined the scale of the divisions that M Macron was expected to heal.
Once a political pariah, the RN’s gradual shift into the mainstream was confirmed in last May’s European parliament elections, during which the anti-immigrant party rode a wave of nationalist sentiment to win the most French votes.
The RN secured 23.6 percent of the vote, a little over one percentage point ahead of M Macron’s La République en Marche (LREM) list on 22.4 percent.
The result dealt a brutal blow to M Macron, who has put Europe at the heart of his presidency and had personally invested time in the campaign.
• The BFMTV poll of 1,003 people aged 18 and over was carried out online between October 28-29.
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