75 per cent of French unhappy with Macron's government: Poll

Facing the sternest challenge of his 20-month tenure, President Emmanuel Macron has since vowed to press on with other reform pledges.
Facing the sternest challenge of his 20-month tenure, President Emmanuel Macron has since vowed to press on with other reform pledges.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - Three-quarters of French people are unhappy with the way President Emmanuel Macron and his government are running the country, with a majority keen to see more measures to boost household incomes, a poll showed on Thursday (Jan 3).

A wave of "yellow vest" street protests in the past two months have rocked Mr Macron's presidency, forcing him into policy concessions including scrapping a planned fuel tax rise to try and defuse anger over a perceived squeeze on family budgets.

Facing the sternest challenge of his 20-month tenure, Mr Macron has since vowed to press on with other reform pledges, however, like tackling unemployment benefits or overhauling the civil service, even as the protest movement rumbles on.

Only 25 per cent of people surveyed by Odoxa and Dentsu Consulting for franceinfo and the Figaro newspaper said they were satisfied with the French government's measures and action since Mr Macron came to power in mid-2017.

The poll of 1,004 people, carried out on Wednesday and Thursday, compared to one from last April, when 59 per cent of those surveyed were unhappy with the government, versus 75 per cent now.

The biggest political priority for 54 per cent of French people was finding measures to boost purchasing power, the poll found, while reducing unemployment, long the number one worry, slipped to become the fourth most urgent concern.

Support for the "yellow vest" demonstrations, which have brought disruption and destruction to Paris and other major cities, has also dwindled somewhat versus earlier surveys, and following Mr Macron's bid to meet some of the protesters' demands.

 
 

Fifty-five per cent of those surveyed said they thought the protests should carry on, compared to 54 per cent on Dec 11 and 66 per cent on Nov 22 shortly after the movement erupted.