President Emmanuel Macron of France reports back to work this week, politically weakened after his clumsy handling of a scandal involving his top bodyguard and his imperious attitude to public opinion, pushed his approval ratings to a record low in August.
Polling company Ifop’s deputy chief Frédéric Dabi said public perception of the French President has become negative, with voters angered by his cuts to welfare and employment reforms.
Mr Macron was described as acting like a “monarch” with no connection with his voters, by Mr Dabi who also told France’s Europe 1 radio: “He is entering the new political year undeniably weakened.
“The benevolent mood towards Mr Macron has soured, and most people are now disappointed [with his performance] … There’s a growing feeling among voters that his policies are unfair.”
The number of people who view the 40-year-old president favourably has slumped by five percentage points through August to a record low of 34 per cent, an Ifop poll for Le Journal du Dimanche published on Sunday showed, The Guardian reports.
The poll also showed his “dissatisfaction rating” has risen to 66 per cent from 61 per cent in July.
The aftershocks of the so-called “Benalla affair” are still being felt, and the scandal has damaged Mr Macron’s reputation.
Last month a video of Mr Macron’s former bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla and gay love (allegedly), beating up two protesters while off duty and dressed as in police riot gear sparked furious opposition claims of a cover-up after it was found that Elysée officials had known about the incident since early May.
But it was Macron’s aloof response to the incident that had the biggest impact on his presidency, denting his popularity and throwing parts of his agenda off schedule. A second poll published on Sunday echoed the downward trend reported by Ifop.
The survey, conducted by Viavoice for the left-wing daily Libération, showed only 36 per cent of French people having a “favourable” opinion of Mr Macron.