(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron, who’s expected to seek re-election in April, is losing support following the nation’s latest spike in Covid cases, Journal du Dimanche reported, citing an Ifop poll.

Only 41% of the French believe Macron’s government is capable of responding effectively to the pandemic, down from 52% in August, according to the survey, which was published on Sunday. 

France, like much of Europe, is struggling to contain the rapid spread of the omicron variant. Cases have hit record levels in spite of France’s high vaccination levels, making the government’s handling of the pandemic a live political issue once again. 

Macron’s recent comments that the strategy was to “p--- off” non-vaccinated people as a way of goading them into getting inoculations didn’t help.

“There’s something happening in public opinion,” JDD cited Ifop opinion head Frederic Dabi as saying. “For several months now, the health crisis seemed to be protecting the president. Now the situation is deteriorating.”

The number of daily cases ballooned to a record this month, as the debate on vaccinations heats up and protests continue.

Over 50,000 people demonstrated against vaccine passes in France on Saturday, JDD reported, citing Interior Ministry figures. Families are also grappling with rapid changes to school protocols and closed classrooms, even as the economy remains open.

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The French are also becoming more wary about vaccines, according to the Ifop poll, even though about 75% are fully inoculated.

Only half of respondents said they are confident that Macron can effectively conduct the vaccination campaign, down from 63% in August, JDD said.

Support for the vaccine pass is decreasing, with 58% of French now in favor, according to the poll published today. That’s down 5 percentage points compared with a separate Ifop poll conducted for LCI in early January, Journal du Dimanche said.

While Macron hasn’t yet said publicly that he will run for a second term, his team is closely monitoring pandemic developments to pick the right time to announce his re-election bid, JDD reported, citing people close to his entourage. The president may declare his candidacy either at the end of January or in the middle of February, depending on where Covid-19 cases stand, the people said. 

“The French are tired,” Ifop’s Dabi said. “With regards to the handling of the pandemic, we’re not far from the bad scores of 2020.”

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