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We were aware of the concerned public opinion and the beginnings of this very complicated second five-year period for Emmanuel Macron. But we didn’t know how much. The pessimism of the French literally explodes, in a context of tensions over prices and purchasing power. According to the Ecoscope OpinionWay-Square barometer of “Les Echos” and Classic Radio published this Monday, three quarters (74%) believe that the tricolor economy “will deteriorate in the coming months.”
An unprecedented level since the spring of 2021, although it does not reach the records of the start of the Covid crisis. Since June 2021, the date that corresponds to the beginning of the lack of confidence, the increase has been 19 points. On the contrary, they are only the 10% to think that it will improve.
“Real renewed pessimism”
“There is a true resurgence of pessimism that affects all socio-professional categories and that, this time, is accompanied by a strong concern of the French for their personal situation”, observes Bruno Jeanbart, vice president of the OpinionWay institute.
Almost one in two people (47%) feel that their financial situation will deteriorate (with a peak of 54% between 50-64 years). That’s an increase of 16 points in one year and a record since the fall of 2020. Only households earning €3,500 a month feel more protected. Employees also remain less concerned about their company: only 29% expect a deterioration, 52% a business as usual.
These fears are mainly fueled by rising prices, which is fueled by the war in Ukraine. The fight against inflation is the “priority” economic issue for the French, cited by 78% of them (another 19% consider it “important”) ahead of the reactivation of activity and reindustrialization. In comparison, the pension reform, highlighted by the Head of State during the last presidential campaign, is only a priority for 35% of those surveyed.
The pressure is strong on the tenant of the Elysee and on his prime minister Elisabeth Borne. Because if they do not believe that this is possible on the pension reform or the reduction of public spending, almost six out of ten French people believe that the executive “could find a majority in the National Assembly to act” on the recovery activity (59 % ), fight inflation (58%) or reindustrialize France (54%). More than two-thirds of Emmanuel Macron’s voters in the first round of the presidential election believe so.
“Do With What You Have”
“The French currently do not have the feeling that the country is blocked and ungovernable. There is no absolute majority for the government, but there is no absolute blocking majority either. It will be a difficulty for the President of the Republic: the French ask him to do with what he has”, deciphers Bruno Jeanbart, for whom the difficulty is rather one of political trust, “through the French, reinforced by the fact that he has there has been no momentum since Emmanuel Macron’s re-election.”
Confidence remains, it is true, very low, especially for the beginning of the five-year period. Despite the prospect of a bill on the subject, 68% of those surveyed do not “trust” the government to defend purchasing power. The same occurs, but to a lesser extent (58%), with respect to the new Assembly.
In a classic way, distrust continues to be expressed in the tax area. In this context, most French people foresee an increase in income tax (up to 51%) and local taxes (up to 71%). Regarding the latter, the fear of an increase, stronger among the elderly and among those with low incomes, has increased by 10 points in one year.
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89% of Emmanuel Macron’s voters in the presidential elections consider the pension reform “priority” or “important”.