Do the French public support the pension reform strikes?

The majority of people who took part in a poll say they are opposed and 14% plan to participate in next week’s protests, another survey found

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The majority of people polled say they are against the French government’s pension reform plans that have sparked major strike action across the country this month, a poll shows.

Almost three quarters (72%) of people in the country do not support the plans, a survey carried out by the Institut Elabe poll for BFMTV found - and opposition is rising with this figure six percentage points higher than a week ago and 13 points higher than two weeks prior.

Of those against the plans, 40% say they are “very opposed”; 18 percentage points more than said the same two weeks ago.

Key opposition

  • People of retirement age: 59% against

  • Working professionals: 81% against

  • Factory workers and lower-level employees: 80% against.

Politically, the lines are as you might expect.

  • Macron supporters: 68% in favour of the reforms

  • Jean-Luc Mélénchon supporters: 88% against

  • Marine Le Pen supporters: 82% against.

However, 84% of people who are in opposition say that they are against the plans because of their contents and not due to political leanings.

  • 74% say they find the project “unfair”

  • 62% say it will be “ineffective” as a means of “establishing the continuation of the retirement system”

  • 61% of retired people say the project is “unfair”

  • 40% of Macron supporters say they feel the plans are unfair

Yet, President Macron is standing firm. Over the past few days, he has said that he “believes in mandates” (referring to the fact that he won the election), and that this legitimises his programme.

However, 71% of people said that the president “is wrong” about this, and agreed that “he was elected for other reasons, notably to ‘block’ Marine Le Pen”.

New protests on January 31

It comes as another poll found that 14% of people in France said they were intending to protest or march on the next day of protests, January 31.

The Ifop survey for the Journal du Dimanche showed that the percentage of those planning to take part in the protests had risen by two percentage points. This would equate to almost seven million protesters, if everyone who says they plan to march actually does so.

Of those aged 35 or under, 17% said they planned to march, compared to just 4% among those 65 and over (those who would be least affected by the planned reforms).

Of higher-income respondents, 9% said they planned to take part, compared to 19% of less well-off households. 16% of men said they would, compared to 12% of women.

The new day of protests was called for after organisers found the more recent day of protests, January 19, to be a success.

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