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Macron's popularity hits record low in France

media French president Emmanuel Macron in Sydney, May 2018 Ludovic MARIN / AFP

More than 70% of France's population is dissatisfied with President Emmanuel Macron's leadership, according to a major poll published Sunday. The fall comes after a scandal concerning Macron's ex-aide Alexandre Benalla, and the resignation of Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot.

The resignation of popular former Environment minister Nicolas Hulot in August 2018 came as a blow for Macron's government. (both pictured here at Brittany, France, 20 June 2018). REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The popularity of French President Emmanuel Macron has hit its lowest level since the start of his term, according to a major tracker poll published on Sunday, with just 29 percent of respondents satisfied with his leadership.

The poll by research group Ifop and published in the Journal du Dimanche showed an overall fall of five points in September compared with August, reflecting the 40-year-old's battle with a series of domestic and foreign setbacks.

The results of the widely watched Ifop poll are broadly in line with other surveys that have shown the approval ratings of the centrist falling sharply following a scandal involving a security aide in July.

Former presidential aide Alexandre Benalla (left), accused of abuse of power and violence against protesters, caused a big upset in Macron's government. (Both pictured here at Le Touquet, France, June 2017) CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / POOL / AFP

A separate poll by the Kantar Sofres Onepoint group published on September 17 showed that only 19 percent of French people had a positive view of Macron's record, while another survey on September 11 showed only 29 percent thought he was a "good president."

Historical trend for newly-elected presidents

The results reinforce a longer-term trend of French voters turning quickly on their presidents soon after their election -- something suffered by Macron's predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.

A year after being elected, ratings for former French presidents François Hollande (R) and Nicolas Sarkozy (middle) fell to 23% and 34%. (Paris 28 March, 2018) Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters

Was Macron's attitude too condescending?

But many analysts also believe Macron has made a series of political errors, including failing to address the scandals over the summer quickly enough and repeatedly creating negative headlines with harsh or condescending remarks.

His leadership style was again questioned last week when he told an unemployed gardener that he should look for a job in a restaurant or on a building site and implied he was not searching hard enough.

“Just cross the road and you'll find a job”, says Emmanuel Macron to an unemployed horticulturist, telling him to find jobs in restaurants and cafés. The remark was considered by many to be condescending. (Paris, September 2018) Video screenshot

France's economy fails to kick off

Macron's biggest challenge remains the economy, however, with his pro-business reforms failing so far to produce a significant fall in unemployment or a major uptick in growth.

His government will unveil its draft budget for 2019 on Monday, which is set to see fresh efforts to rein in France's chronic overspending via cuts to the public sector payroll and caps on pensions.

The survey by Ifop published on Sunday was conducted between September 14-22 on 1,964 people.

Macron's approval rating of 29 percent includes 3.0 percent of people who declared themselves "very satisfied" and 26 percent who said they were "mostly satisfied."

Hollande had an inferior rating of 23 percent at the same time of his term and Sarkozy had a rating of 34 percent.

(With AFP)

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