During the French Presidential campaign Emmanuel Macron’s opponents accused him of being ‘Francois Hollande 2’ – a charge that failed to stick as he swept into the Elysée Palace. But the comparisons have now returned with a vengeance as the new President faces approval ratings that are below his those of his predecessor after three months in power.
Today’s ‘100 days’ Ifop poll for Le Figaro newspaper shows that just 36 per cent of the French are happy with Macron’s performance, compared to 46 per cent for Hollande in August 2012. On top of that only 45 per cent feel he is keeping his campaign promises, compared to 57 per cent for Hollande at the same stage.
This poll is only the latest in a series showing a significant slide in Macron’s initially high public support. The sense among political commentators that the President’s row with Chief of Defence Staff General Pierre de Villiers over mililtary budget cuts has badly damaged Macron seems to be confirmed by the answers to an Ifop question on the subject. Just 18 per cent side with Macron over the affair, against 41 per cent backing the General (34 per cent ‘neither’, 7 per cent ‘both equally’).
But on other issues too the new President finds himself in negative territory, with very similar, and equally poor, ratings as Hollande on public confidence in him to tackle unemployment, prevent illegal immigration, and stop the de-industrialization of the country. Only on reducing the public deficit does former Economy Minister Macron enjoy far superior ratings to Hollande: 44 per cent have confidence in him, compared to 44 per cent who do not (Hollande 33 vs. 60).
The danger for the man who has so transformed French politics in the last year is that he will now slip into the same downward polling spiral as Hollande. Early perceptions tend to stick with the voters, in France as elsewhere.
IFOP ‘100 days’ poll
Macron vs. Hollande, per cent
Emmanuel Macron (August 2017)
Total satisfied 36
Total dissatisfied 64
Net approval rating -28
Francois Hollande (August 2012)
Total satisfied 46
Total dissatisfied 54
Net approval rating -8
Fieldwork: 07.08-09.08.2017. Published: 12.08.2017. Participants: 1001. Report and graphics on Le Figaro website here.
Image: Musée de la Piscine, Roubaix, Nord, France. Photo: Andrew Cornwell. All rights reserved.
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