(Bloomberg) -- Emmanuel Macron’s popularity continued to slide in December despite concessions announced by the French president in response to weeks of protests by the so-called Yellow Vest movement.
Macron’s approval rating dropped two points from a month earlier, to 23 percent, according to a poll by Ifop for the Journal du Dimanche weekly. Macron’s popularity has fallen by 27 points during the course of 2018, the newspaper reported.
On Saturday, the same day that the polling ended, demonstrations held across France by the Yellow Vest movement drew around half the number of last week’s protesters, suggesting that his offers have dented the campaign’s momentum. Macron on Dec. 10 announced that he’ll raise the minimum wage, abolish taxes on overtime and get rid of a controversial tax on pensions.
"Dialogue must now bring together all those who want to change France," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner wrote late Saturday in a tweet, adding that the day "ended well."
The protests have battered the French economy at a time when Macron is in need of a boost to help deliver his agenda. Sales sacrificed to the protests have already exceed 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion), according to the FCD national retail federation. And the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index showed the country’s private sector contracting in December for the first time during Macron’s presidency.
The Bank of France has cut its growth forecasts for this year and the next as a broad cross section of sectors report falling output.
People across France have been donning high-visibility vests for more than a month to express a range of grievances and demands, from lower taxes and higher wages to better public services.
"We’re taking reality into account" in making the proposals, National Assembly President Richard Ferrand, a political ally of Macron, said in an interview in the Journal du Dimanche. "What would people have said if we hadn’t come to any conclusions from the Yellow Vest movement?"
Support for Prime Minister Edouard Philippe fell 3 points to 31 percent, according to the Ifop poll.
Ifop surveyed 1,943 people of voting age, via phone and Internet, between Dec. 7 and Dec. 15.
(Adds comment from interior minister in fourth paragraph.)
--With assistance from William Horobin.
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