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Support falls for France’s ‘yellow vest’ protests: polls

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Protestors wearing “yellow vest” (gilet jaune) gesture on December 8, 2018 near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris during a protest against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes. – Paris was on high alert on December 8 with major security measures in place ahead of fresh “yellow vest” protests which authorities fear could turn violent for a second weekend in a row. (Photo by Eric FEFERBERG / AFP)

Support for the “yellow vest” protesters in France has dropped sharply following President Emmanuel Macron’s concessions to ease taxes and boost income, leaving the country split, two opinion polls showed Tuesday.

One poll, carried out by Opinionway, said 54 percent of those surveyed wanted the protest to stop, while 45 percent wanted it to continue.

A second poll, carried out Odoxa, showed nearly reverse figures, with 46 percent wanting them to stop and 54 percent wanting the protests to continue.

Both polls revealed a major shift in public opinion overall.

More than two out of three French people had previously supported the grassroots movement which sprang up in opposition to fuel taxes but snowballed into broad opposition to Macron’s pro-business agenda.

The polls also revealed divided feelings over whether Macron had been convincing on Monday evening in a 13-minute televised address to the nation which was watched by around 23 million people.

According to Opinionway, the poll carried out for LCI television, 49 percent of viewers thought he had been “wholly” or “mostly” convincing, while 50 percent thought not.

According to Odoxa, the poll carried out on behalf of Le Figaro newspaper and Franceinfo radio and television, 40 percent thought Macron was “convincing” while 59 percent thought not.

Most people approved of his pay and fiscal measures, which included a hike in the minimum wage and tax relief for pensioners and employees working overtime.

The figures in favour of Macron were nearly twice as high as those which followed a speech on November 27 when he had shown no sign of giving ground.

The OpinionWay telephone poll was carried out Monday evening after the president’s speech amongst 991 respondents, with a margin of error of 1.5 to 3.0 percentage points.

The Odoxa internet poll was carried out Monday evening and Tuesday morning among 992 people with a margin of error of 1.4 to 3.1 points.

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