Fewer than two years into his first term as France’s president, Emmanuel Macron is staring down his lowest approval rating yet, and has become more unpopular than his predecessor Francois Hollande was at the same point in office.
Macron’s approval rating dropped to 31%, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday citing an Ifop survey. The news comes five days after the pro-business president found himself in hot water for referring to French people as “Gauls who are resistant to change,” while addressing European business leaders in Copenhagen.
In a speech criticizing how stringent French unemployment benefits were discouraging companies from hiring and firing employees, Macron said he preferred the Nordic economic system instead.
Macron’s popularity also took hit following a scandal involving the 40-year-old leader’s ex-bodyguard, who was caught on camera roughing up some protesters at a demonstration in May.
The majority of respondents in the Ifop poll claimed they disagree with Macron’s vision for the country or the economy, and 78% said he was out of touch with the worries of the French people.
But Macron fared better among respondents on question about how he handles issues abroad. About 54% said they believe strongly or at least somewhat that the president had the French people’s interest at heart on matters of international significance.
Macron’s rating was lowest among voters between the ages of 18-24, with 72% disapproving of him.
“The shift shows how his summer went,” Frederic Dabi, Ifop’s head of polling, told Sud Radio. “This is a horrible return to work for Macron.”
At the same point in his presidency, Macron’s predecessor, Francois Hollande, had an approval rating of 32%.