August 4, 2017

THEY RAN HIM TO KEEP LE PEN OUT. HE DID THAT. Macron’s Popularity Plummets.

To put Macron’s current numbers in perspective, recall that he enjoyed a 62 percent approval rating at the start of his term in mid-May. A 26-point plunge in three months would be bad news for any leader, but especially for Macron, whose political appeal rests in large part on his image as a centrist unifier. To add another bleak data point to the picture, Macron is already less popular in France than Donald Trump is in the United States, with the YouGov poll putting his approval one point lower than the U.S. President’s current average of 37 percent.

There is no shortage of scapegoats for Macron’s current predicament. To begin with, Macron’s support was always softer than many appreciated. To be sure, he pulled off an impressive underdog victory—but he benefitted immensely from record abstentions, major party scandals, and a broad second-round coalition aimed at stopping Marine Le Pen. After his election, it is no surprise that reluctant Macron voters have reverted to a position of skepticism, especially after a series of controversial reforms and self-inflicted wounds.

Macron has famously suggested that he would govern like the Roman god Jupiter, an authoritative but distant figure operating above the political fray. But the events of recent weeks have brought him down to earth.

Well, to be honest, Jupiter’s not doing so great this century himself.