Emmanuel Macron is making a small, but important comeback in France.
The French president’s approval rating has made an “unprecedented” rebound (link in French) after rapidly deteriorating only a few months into his presidency. His approval rating jumped by 10 percentage points since October and to 52%, French pollsters Ifop showed Sunday.
Macron, France’s youngest ever president, had a difficult start after taking office last May. His pro-market agenda proved to be unpopular, particularly among public sector workers. Budget cuts led to strikes and staged street demonstrations across France in October, with unions claiming that his labor reforms intended to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
As a result, his approval rating dropped by 10 percentage points between June and July, the biggest drop in popularity for a newly elected French president since 1995, according to Ifop. It reached further lows in August—dropping to 40% in Ifop’s poll. YouGov’s poll put Macron’s approval rating at 30% in September.
Macron’s dwindling popularity inspired a frantic shake up of his communication team. His office brought on Bruno Roger-Petit, an outspoken TV journalist and opinion writer, as a spokesman at the end of August. The president went on to make a rare TV appearance to defend his reforms in October. He denied he was the “president of the rich,” insisting: “I’m not here to manage or reform, I’m here to transform.” His labor reforms, he argued, did not equate to a “hyper free-market” model that would harm workers rights, but a pro-business plan that would help all workers. He plans to target unemployment benefits and training schemes next.
French voters appear happy (link in French) that despite the backlash he is keeping to his campaign promises.