France's Macron sees popularity fall to 40%
PARIS, France (UPDATED) – French President Emmanuel Macron's popularity rating slumped a further 14 points in August to hit 40%, following a sharp 10-point drop the previous month, according to a poll released Sunday, August 27.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also saw his popularity fall, down 9 points over the same period, with 47% now satisfied with his performance, the Ifop poll carried out for the Journal du Dimanche newspaper showed.
Macron has seen his popularity plunge 22 points since the first Ifop poll published 3 months ago, when he enjoyed a rating of 62% just after his May 7 election win.
At this point in 2012, his socialist predecessor Francois Hollande had a much higher popularity rating of 54%, while Nicolas Sarkozy boasted an even higher 67% in 2007.
Government spokesman Christophe Castaner conceded Sunday that there were "difficulties" and said that more efforts were needed to explain the policy changes proposed by Macron.
"We haven't given enough meaning, explanation, or education about things," Castaner said.
In August, 36% of respondents said they were "somewhat satisfied" with Macron, down 11 points, and 4% were "very satisfied", a fall of 3 points.
Macron, 39, who shot to power as the head of a new "neither right nor left" centrist party, has since come under fire for his monarchical style in office and attempts to cut public spending.
His plans for major overhauls to employment law, which he sees as vital to increasing investment and improving the business environment in France, will face a test from trade unions and leftist opponents next month.
The hard-left, Communist-backed CGT party has called for a one-day strike on September 12, while leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon set September 23 as the date for a major anti-Macron rally in Paris.
"On September 23, the French people need to march in Paris against the anti-democratic coup d'etat which is being organized against our social system," Melenchon told a crowd in Marseille on Sunday.
He added that "the French people have not given full powers to Macron" despite him winning the two-stage presidential election in April and May, and his Republic on the Move party winning a majority in parliamentary elections in June.
Macron, who has given only a handful of interviews since taking power, has also promised to speak more regularly in the months ahead, having started his term in office deliberately avoiding the media.
On Monday, August 28, Macron welcomes the African leaders of Chad, Niger, and Libya as well as his European counterparts from Germany, Spain, and Italy for talks expected to focus on cutting illegal migration to Europe.
On Tuesday, August 29, he will speak at the annual meeting of France's ambassadors in Paris where he will lay out his foreign policy priorities for the coming year in front of 200 envoys.
The Ifop survey of 1,023 people was carried out online and by telephone on August 25 and 26. – Rappler.com