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Emmanuel Macron, le 3 octobre, lors de sa visite de l'usine Whirlpool à Amiens.

POLITICAL STUDY – From work orders to a 10-euro pack of cigarettes, there are many causes for the dropout of working-class categories in relation to the head of state.

In the Ifop-JDD barometer, Emmanuel Macron's fall in popularity was much more pronounced among employees (-26 points between May and September) and workers (-24) than in the other categories (-12 among managers and higher intellectual professions). This steeper decline occurred on previously less favorable ground. It is indeed among the popular categories that he had achieved his worst scores in the first round of the presidential election. And it is also in these social circles that its progression between the first and the second round was the least strong: + 35 points among employees and + 25 points among workers, against + 44 points among CSP +. Two-thirds of popular France today say they are dissatisfied with the head of state. How can this growing gap be explained?

● A reform of the anxiety-provoking Labor Code

Reform of the Labor Code appears to be the main source of this popular discontent. Workers and employees thus turn out to be the most hostile to it. At the height of summer, and while the government had not yet specified its intentions, only 22% of them declared themselves in favor of the reform of the Labor Code, against 40% of CSP + (Ifop). According to a survey carried out by the Elabe Institute on August 29, the working classes were also the least inclined to want an “in-depth” reform of the Labor Code (26%, against 40% of CSP +). The verbatim reports collected as part of the Ifop/JDD barometer show that the fear of dismissal is strong among employees and workers, who see the Labor Code as an element of protection.

Some of the popular categories who had supported Emmanuel Macron around the themes of renewal and an optimistic and positive vision that he embodied, turned away from him because of the reform of the Labor Code

Under the effect of this concern, popular circles showed the most marked support for the social movements against these ordinances, in particular that of September 12, considered "justified" by 65% ​​of employees and 83% of workers, against 44 % of executives and higher intellectual professions. Ifop has drawn up a map of the mobilization, identifying as exhaustively as possible all the places where protests were held and by comparing the number of demonstrators with the number of inhabitants in the municipality. Even if this indicator has limits (imprecise counting, inflated figures, as in Marseilles, etc.), the map shows a proportionally greater mobilization in the western regions (Brittany, Normandy, Pays de la Loire), in New -Aquitaine and in the former Midi-Pyrénées region. However, these regions correspond (with Ile-de-France) to the territories where Emmanuel Macron had obtained his best results in the presidential election.

We can hypothesize that part of the popular categories of these economically rather dynamic regions, which had supported Emmanuel Macron around the themes of renewal and an optimistic and positive vision that he embodied, turned away from him to because of this reform. Conversely, the popular circles residing in the eastern regions of the country and in particular in the border territories, which had from the outset placed less expectations in Emmanuel Macron, as the journalist Gérald Andrieu relates in his work, The People of the Frontier. 2 km walk to meet the French who were not expecting Macron(Éditions du Cerf), seem to have been less mobilized and to have persisted in their posture of withdrawal.

● The feeling of an unfair policy

Some tax measures announced by the government are also the subject of strong dissatisfaction among employees and workers, nourishing the haunting feeling that it is "always the same people" who are called upon to contribute, while the "recipients" on the one hand and the wealthier on the other fare better. To this long-standing reading grid in working-class circles has been added the criticism of a policy that would first serve the "haves". The theme of the “Robin of the rich” (who takes from the poor to give to the rich) surfaces in many verbatim statements collected by Ifop investigators.

The theme of the "Robin of the rich" (who takes from the poor to give to the rich) surfaces in many verbatims

The monthly decrease of 5 euros in APL helped anchor this perception. If it was criticized by all categories of the population, 52% of executives saying they were “not satisfied”, the opposition was even stronger in popular circles (60%). Added to this was the announcement of the abolition of many subsidized contracts and the one at the sharp decrease in the wealth tax. The dismay and anger following these announcements point in some of the remarks of the employees and workers questioned by Ifop.

In this context, the abolition of unemployment and health contributions, which should more than offset a 1,7 point increase in CSG, and therefore result in a gain in purchasing power for employees, should be credited to the executive. But it was only approved in August by 27% of employees and workers. Probably because it was seen as a “fiscal sleight of hand” according to which the State would always take back with a discreet hand what it granted with the other.

● The impact of tobacco and gasoline taxation

Less commented on, the increase in taxation on tobacco and fuels met with a real echo among employees and workers. Despite a decline in all categories of the population, tobacco consumption remains socially very marked. The proportion of regular smokers among manual workers is double that observed among managers; and 10 points higher among employees compared to managers. The announcement of the change in the price of a pack of cigarettes to 10 euros passed like a letter in the mail among executives and intellectual and higher professions (in favor at 72%), but was massively rejected by workers (55%).

The increase in diesel taxes will have a greater impact on the working classes living in rural and peri-urban areas

Similarly, it is reasonable to think that the increase in taxes on diesel will have a greater impact on the working classes living in rural and peri-urban areas. According to Ifop data, the rate of ownership of diesel vehicles is indeed much higher there. When only half of the households living less than 10 kilometers from the heart of one of the main French urban areas own a diesel vehicle, this rate rises by almost 20 points as soon as one moves away from 10 kilometers from the city center ( 68%) to reach up to 77% for people living more than 60 km from a large urban area. It will be recalled that in the fall of 2009, when it was a question of setting up the carbon tax for environmental reasons, the popular circles were opposed by nearly 60%, while executives and the intellectual professions were mostly favourable.

● Vaccination, security, immigration

Finally, there are sources of societal or sovereign concern. The popular categories are thus the most hostile to mandatory vaccination: 38% are in favour, against 47% among managers. Popular France is also the most hostile to the opening of two reception centers for asylum seekers in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais (21% in favor among workers and employees, against 40% of CSPs +). Finally, the lifting of the state of emergency is only approved by 21% in the popular categories against 36% in the upper categories.

The practice of power and the Macronian philosophy, which aim to increase mobility, are perceived as factors of insecurity by popular circles

While, as Gérald Andrieu reminds us, working-class circles are first of all waiting for protection, permanence and stability, the practice of power and the Macronian philosophy, which aim to increase mobility (professional, geographical and statutory) and praise the movement, risk being perceived as factors of insecurity by popular circles. This political philosophy, which ran counter to their immediate perceptions, combined with what could be seen in these circles as a lack of consideration for them, resulted in a sudden dropout from working-class circles, a movement that we do not had not observed for the two predecessors of Emmanuel Macron at the same period of their five-year term.

Jérôme Fourquet is director of the opinion department at Ifop.

** Chloé Morin is director of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation's opinion observatory..

Source: © Le Figaro Premium – How to explain Macron's fall in the popular electorate

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