French president Emmanuel Macron’s approval rating is above 50 percent for the first time since he was elected in July, according to a poll released this week by Ifop and Fiducial for Paris Match and Sud Radio.
The poll shows Macron’s approval ratings have gone up six points since November.
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Macron’s popularity peaked at 66 percent in July, but fell back to 56 percent in the month following his election, hitting just 30 percent in September according to one YouGov survey — below US president Donald Trump’s domestic popularity.
A breakdown of the results showed that 11 percent of people, the same as in November, “totally approve” of Macron, while 39 percent “reasonably approve” of him.
At the other end of the scale, 21 percent of people “slightly disapprove”, with 27 percent “completely disapprove”, leaving two percent uncertain.
Macron’s wild swings in support have bucked recent trends.
Former French presidents François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy saw their approval levels fluctuate during their time in office but neither fell so far into such levels of unpopularity to then become so popular again.
Frederic Dabi, deputy director general of Ifop referred to it as a “historic wave”. It is also one of the fastest approval rating rebounds ever seen.
Macron is most popular amongst elderly residents, senior executives, craftsmen, tradesmen and higher education graduates, while he is least popular with under 35s, labourers, non-graduates, and supporters of his rival National Front party and the left-wing populists La France Insoumise.
Geographically, Macron is much more popular in the Paris region (with approval ratings of 61 percent) than in rural communes (where he polls at 51 percent).
Macrons surge in popularity comes after his successful visit to Africa last week, from Burkina Faso to Ghana via the Ivory Coast.
Macron was praised during his three day trip for his direct approach with students at a university in Burkina Faso.
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According to Dabi:
The French appreciate his way of making contact with people and to speak openly even if he didn’t announce anything.
The study also showed people believe Macron could reinvigorate the role of president and he represented the country well abroad.
Macron’s positive approval rating comes amid instability among the established French right — 21 percent of people see the Marine Le Pen’s National Front as the main opposition, while 22 percent see Macron’s former Republican party as the opposition.
La France Insoumise are most widely regarded as the official opposition, with 42 percent though it’s thought the party is little threat to Macron’s La Republique en Marche.
The survey did however reveal that 57 percent of people think Macron is not in tune with the people of France’s concerns.