Presidential: The image duel is now very close between Macron and Le Pen according to our poll

Emmanuel Macron’s popularity drops sharply (-6 points to 40%) in a context of presidential polarization and hostility to his pension reform

If the war in Ukraine is far from over, its positive effect – “flag effect” – on the president’s popularity is completely over. The president lost a few more points in April in March: his popularity dropped 6 points to 40%, while he had risen 5 points last month after the conflict. Logically, and as always, his prime minister suffers comparable luck, losing 4 points to drop to 35% popularity.

Is that now, for the French, the issue is no longer Ukraine, it is the presidential election and this confrontation that promises to be very uncertain in the second round between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. It is true that with 40% of French people still believing that he is a “good president” versus 59% who judge that he is not, the president is still doing better than his last two predecessors at similar times in their respective terms. In a comparable period, its popularity remains (more than) double that of its predecessor François Hollande (18%) and is still 4 points higher than that of Nicolas Sarkozy (36%).

But the trend is worrying for him, because it is not just a return to a normal and fairly common situation of political polarization linked to the presidential campaign. In addition to this classic “Back to Reality” effect, the presidential candidate is also paying this month’s flagship announcement – the only one the French have really kept of their program – to raise the legal retirement age. 65.

Our April 15 Odoxa-Backbone Consulting survey for Le Figaro, devoted to this topic and the Macron-Le Pen comparative economic assessment, showed how hostile our fellow citizens were to this reform: the 69 He declared himself opposed to the reform of Emmanuel Macron. , compared to 74% in favor of what was proposed by Marine Le Pen (62-year-old conservation) and, more generally, 57% said that the latter’s economic pension program seemed more “credible” than that of the outgoing president.

The decline in its popularity corresponds, in fact, to exactly when the French integrated this dimension and especially affects the categories of the population most hostile to this pension reform. Thus, the 35-49 year olds, and the “CSP-” (workers and employees), especially hostile to the increase in the legal age, are the ones whose popularity has fallen the most in a month, from 46% . in March at 33% in April (-13 points) among the former and at 39% in March at 28% in April between the latter (CSP-).

By contrast, his popularity ranking is sinking with fans of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whom Emmanuel Macron so desperately needs for the second round: -7 points this month to drop to 22% (77% believe he is a “bad president”).

To draw? There is now a perfect equality in the qualification levels of members of the president and his opponent in the second round (38% each)

Our intentions to vote in the second round show that the gap between the president and his rival is “melting like snow in the sun”: 53% compared to 47% of our last voting intention published on 15 April, that is, a 3-point hardening since the evening. of the first round and 10 points since last month. In our political barometer, the gap is even now (practically) zero, in terms of the respective qualifications of members of the two finalists. 38% of French people “bet” or “have sympathy” for each of them. 21% “support” and 17% “sympathy” for Emmanuel Macron versus 22% “support” and 16% “sympathy” for Marine Le Pen.

This is because, in our membership ranking, the difference between the two finalists has narrowed in recent weeks. Since our measurement common to both in February, the RN candidate has progressed 4 points while the starting one has dropped one point.
More worrying for a president elected in 2017 thanks to a Republican front, weak but still existing at the time, now arouses almost as much rejection as his rival. 41% of French people now say they feel “rejected” by E. Macron (2 points more since February) and 45% by Mr. Le Pen. Thanks to Eric Zemmour, champion of our rejection list since his appearance in September 2021, we have found, for months, that the president of the RN had managed to erase his sulphurous image, allowing him to leave from end of year. podium of the most rejected political figures in France. Now, he is only 8th (far behind E. Zemmour, V. Pécresse, M. Maréchal or A. Hidalgo), while he had been first for years before the appearance of the candidate for the Reconquest.

Although still considered “racist”, Marine Le Pen benefits from a more positive detailed image than Emmanuel Macron on a “human” level, but is still ahead of her (a little and less) in the key criteria of “presidency (competition)., presidential height)

This Macron-Le Pen equality in terms of overall support rating is found when we detail their respective image features by passing them “through the sieve” of the opinion on ten key dimensions. This “screen” shows that Emmanuel Macron still suffers from large image gaps in his human dimension. For the French, he is still a “president of the rich” (70%), neither “sympathetic” (56%), nor “close to the people” (69%). However, these last two criticisms are not made or less made to his rival: 53% consider him “close to the people” (23 points more than E. Macron) and 47% “kind” (4 points month).
On the other hand, E. Macron maintains an ascendancy over Mr. Le Pen in very important attributes of “presidential”: the French lend him much more than she the stature of a statesman (60% vs 49%) and consider him. more competent (51% vs. 47%), less demagogic (48% vs. 53%), less brutal (45% vs. 52%), more “democratic” (51% vs. 43%), and ultimately less likely to take risks. if to divide. the country if elected / re-elected (59% vs 67%).

It must be said that if E. Macron has his “Captain Haddock plaster” with his image of “president of the rich”, Marine Le Pen has his own handicap when it comes to racism. 56% of French people still consider it “racist”. But these weaknesses of Marine Le Pen still need to be put into perspective. On top of all these image weaknesses, the RN leader has clearly improved the perceptions of the French towards her. Thus, compared to our political barometer last November, it has improved its perceived competence by 6 points (47% compared to 41% in November), by 5 points in its image of “Democrat” (43% compared to 38 %), 4 points on “racism” (56% today against 60% in November) and 2 points on the fact that it would not be “demago” (46% vs 44%).

In terms of its comparative dimensions, his rival is now only a few points ahead of him: 4 points for competition, 5 points for “non-demagoguery” and 8 points for being “democratic”. If we average the 9 proven traits, E. Macron collects 45% of the positive judgments (recognized qualities or refuted defects), just like Mr. Le Pen, the majority of 54% of our fellow citizens attribute them to both . negative judgments (average of attributed faults and denied qualities).

The “party” is also very close in terms of its perceived competence in large areas of action: if Marine Le Pen inspires more confidence than Emmanuel Macron in purchasing power, it inspires more confidence than her in employment, health and education. .

The “match” between the two candidates for the Elysee Palace is also very close in terms of their perceived competition for large areas of action: E. Macron is considered more credible than Mr. Le Pen in 5 dimensions and Mr. Le Pen more believable than him. of 4. Emmanuel Macron retains a slight advantage over Marine Le Pen in terms of his ability to improve the country’s situation in most major areas of economic action that matter more in the eyes of the French: if he inspires more confidence than he does on purchasing power (54% vs 42%), an important issue for our fellow citizens, and taxation (51% vs 46%), arouses more confidence than her in the other major priorities, in particular employment (50% vs 46%), health (51% vs 45%) and education (52% vs 44%).

Beyond the economy, it is clearly ahead of France’s place internationally (64% vs 33%), a privilege of the current president, but instead is considered less good than her in security (58% vs 39% in favor of Mr Le Pen) and on immigration (61% vs 35%). In total, of the 9 dimensions tested, they reach almost the same level: on average, 49% of French people favor E. Macron over M. Le Pen, 48% give more credit to their rival and 4% do not say: sending -back to back.

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