Macron’s Approval Rating Hits Record Low During Retirement Fight

The French president is facing blowback after forcing through legislation that raises the retirement age from 62 to 64
March 23, 2023 at 2:00 am UTC

For the latest news and analysis on how business, politics and economics intersect around the world, sign up for our daily global news briefing.

French President Emmanuel Macron triggered widespread anger in France after he bypassed the National Assembly to raise France’s retirement age, pushing his job approval rating to a record low.

Slide in Macron’s Approval Intensifies During Pension Fight

Share of French adults who approve or disapprove of French President Emmanuel Macron’s job performance
Morning Consult Logo
Each data point reflects a seven-day moving average of surveys conducted among representative samples of at least 2,450 adults in France, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.

Macron’s pension overhaul costs him support 

  • Just 23% of French adults on March 21 said they approve of Macron’s job performance following a series of major protests against his long-promised pension system overhaul — a record low since Morning Consult began tracking his approval rating daily in March 2020. Disapproval of his job performance stands at a record-high 72% as well. 
  • It’s a far cry from where he stood around the same time last year, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine helped boost Macron’s approval to 42% — 19 percentage points higher than today, though still well underwater. 
  • Macron’s numbers have steadily trended negative ever since — he got re-elected in April 2022 with 58% of French adults disapproving of his job performance — though the decline has accelerated during the pension fight.

Why Macron may be insulated from souring public opinion

Macron became the first French leader to win re-election since 2002, but his victory was marred by an unexpected surge in support for the left wing in June legislative elections that cost him his absolute majority in the National Assembly. He maintained control by allying with the Republicans, but when their lawmakers balked at his pension overhaul after weeks of protest, Macron took the drastic step of forcing through the legislation using Article 49.3 of the French Constitution.

Macron argues the changes are necessary to prevent a systemic crisis within the system as France’s population ages. Macron’s term-limited status may help explain why he was willing to go around the legislature: he’s already unpopular but not really in any danger of being removed from office, opening up wiggle room for him to make unpopular decisions.

A headshot photograph of Matthew Kendrick
Matthew Kendrick
Data Reporter

Matthew Kendrick previously worked at Morning Consult as a data reporter covering geopolitics and foreign affairs.

We want to hear from you. Reach out to this author or your Morning Consult team with any questions or comments.Contact Us