MACRONOMICS – Who would have thought that a 39-year old empty suit would prove to be empty? A lot of people actually.
Less than three months after his election, France’s energetic and image-conscious president has seen his popularity drop after announcing budget cuts, launching a divisive labor reform and engaging in a damaging dispute with the military…
France’s Ifop polling agency put it bluntly: “Apart from Jacques Chirac in July 1995, a newly elected president has never seen his popularity rate falling as quickly during the summer after the election.”
Four polls over the past week showed Macron’s support down sharply from earlier surveys, though each one measured popularity differently. The polls by Ifop, Harris Interactive, YouGov and Elabe showed between 36 and 54 percent of respondents with positive views of Macron’s presidency, a decline from previous gauges of public opinion that also had shown his approval ratings down since he won 66 percent of the vote in the May election.
To be fair, the drop in popularity comes as Macron is trying to do the right thing – cut the bloated budget and reform the sclerotic industrial relations. But even the mildest of reforms can whip the electorate into a frenzy to protect their entitlements, the economic and political realities be damned. Much of the population throughout the Western social democracies has lulled and been lulled for decades into a false sense of security that good life can continue indefinitely, regardless of whether there is enough money to pay for it and regardless what is happening elsewhere in the world.The scary thing is that Macron barely scratched the surface of what needs to be done in order for France to survive the next few decades.