72% of the French oppose the reform, a marked increase in opposition

BFMTV SURVEY – This Wednesday for BFMTV, a new survey from the Elabe Institute called “L’Opinion en direct” prepares a sharp observation for Emmanuel Macron and Elisabeth Borne. Protests against the government’s pension reform project are intensifying, and the executive is also losing the support of pensioners.

It may not be a knockout, but the blow is heavy for the chief executive. Elabe’s new “L’Opinion en direct” poll shows that opposition to France’s pension reform project is growing. A week after the first day of the national holiday, support for the mobilization also experienced a spectacular increase. Moreover, the actions of the president of the republic and his prime minister are largely rejected by public opinion. Finally, the poll shows a worrying change for the government: it is losing the support of pensioners.

About 3/4 of the French are hostile to the project

This is the most striking figure of the study. 72% of the French reject the pension reform project. The statistic represents a jump of six points from the measurement taken a week ago … and 13 points from the measurement established two weeks ago. 40% of them say they are “strongly opposed” to the plan, up 18 points in 15 days.

The unpopularity of the intended device among the active population is confirmed by the hostility rate of 78%. But we note a more remarkable element: the reversal of the opinion of the majority of pensioners. After a sharp rise of 13 points in one week, 59% of them opposed the project.

In terms of socio-professional categories, the most angry belong to intermediate professions (81% of opponents) and the category of workers and servants (80% of commentators). 68% of Emmanuel Macron’s voters stand firmly with their champion, but other voters reject it. Thus, 88 percent of Jean-Luc Mélenchon supporters, 82 percent of Marine Le Pen supporters and neutrals do not want this reform.

The French assure that for them it is not a partisan battle, but about taking a position on the merits of the dispute. 84% of the opponents of the reform claim that it is so because of its content and does not fight against the authorities.

The opposition is getting stronger
Opposition is growing © Elabe

“Unfair”, “ineffective”: the rejected reform

And they have some criticisms of the text. 74% of those who consider the project “unfair” – ten points in a week -, 62% to torpedo the “inefficiency” to build the “sustainability of the pension system” – five points. Here again, pensioners change their tone. 61% of them condemn the “unfair” reform, that is, 19 points more than at the time of the previous survey. 40% of Emmanuel Macron’s supporters point to the “unfairness” of the solution recommended by the ruling team. That’s another 13 points in this segment.

Emmanuel Macron has not moved in recent days. He said he believed in “mandates” and argued that his victory in the presidential election legitimized the flagship proposal of his program, which was “democratically justified and presented”. The argument does not pass: 71% of the French answer, as well as Emmanuel Macron “wrong”, Elabe judges that “he was chosen for other reasons, especially to ‘block’ Marine Le Pen”.

The reform is considered unfair.
The reform is considered unfair. © Elabe

Rating of performers in free fall

If the word president is accepted less, it is also because the attitude towards the executive power has deteriorated very sharply. 64% rate Emmanuel Macron’s move as disappointing, a seven-point drop for the head of state since October 28. Only 15% rate it as “satisfactory”. He can still take solace in a relative majority of his voters (45%), but disillusionment is growing there too: 20%, nine points.

Among the most “disappointed” we note executives and mid-careers (64% disappointed, up 11 points from the previous survey)… and retirees (62% negative, up ten points). The working classes are also very clear in their opinion: 65% of workers and employees express their dissatisfaction.

For Elisabeth Borne, who is on the front lines of the battle over the pension system, the atmosphere is no warmer. 57% of our citizens consider him “bad” as the prime minister. A rate that explodes by 20 points in four months.

Growing frustration.
Growing frustration. © Elabe

Broadly supported mobilization

Troubled pension reform project, discredited executive: all the conditions are met for a plebiscite of the current social movement. Almost a week after the first day of the union-called strike and six days before the next strike, 64% of French people are in favor of mobilisation. That’s eight points in seven days. 22% of the French oppose it, and 14% are indifferent.

Actives are ardent supporters of strikers (69%, up four points in a week). And pensioners are now mostly on the same line: 55%, gaining 15 points from mobilization supporters in the same interval. And the signals sent from the very heart of macronia are hardly encouraging for the top of the state: 46% of the voters of the President of the Republic disapprove of the movement, but 12% less than before.

Therefore, respondents largely support rallies and marches against the reform project. They even want to go further, with 57% saying they “understand the country’s blockade” as “the only way the government can roll back or change pension reform”. This is two points more in a week, while those who “do not understand” such a blockage lose two points, 42%. Retirees still block against congestion, 56%, but said block is cracking: this hostility to a possible tightening of the movement actually drops by seven points.

Mobilization approved.
Mobilization approved. © Elabe

But the fatalistic French

So the dynamics are clear. The wind is blowing in the sails of the opponents of the pension reform project, which is against the will of the executive branch. However, 71% of French people still think the pension reform announced by the government will be “voted and implemented”. This resignation – still in the majority – but four points in 15 days.

A sample of 1,000 people representing residents of France over 18 years of age. The representativeness of the sample was ensured according to the quota method applied to the following variables: gender, age and occupation of the interviewee after stratification by region and agglomeration category. Online interview on 24-25 January 2023.

Robin Werner

Robin Werner BFMTV journalist

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