how buying power reshaped the end of the campaign

At a service station in Bazoges-en-Paillers (Vendée), February 23, 2022.

The majority assures and repeats it: Emmanuel Macron was the “Purchasing Power President”. By lowering taxes, by financing the partial unemployment scheme during the health crisis, by responding with aid to the surge in energy prices since the fall, “our main line is to protect households”insists the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, in an interview with Free lunch published friday 1er April. But is Mr. Macron the candidate for purchasing power, a title almost claimed by the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen (National Rally), but also by others like Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France rebellious)?

This theme, which emerged at the end of summer 2021 with the resumption of inflation, gradually invaded the campaign, relegating all other subjects to the background. Week after week, purchasing power remains at the top of the concerns of the French, far ahead of safety or the environment. Even the war in Ukraine is unable to dislodge it – purchasing power remains the main concern for 54% of French people, according to the latest survey carried out by Ipsos-Sopra Steria in partnership with Cevipof and the Jean-Jaurès Foundation for The world published on March 28. Unsurprisingly, the candidates’ ability to answer them partly explains their respective evolution in the polls.

In this context, the executive has been hammering its balance sheet for months, recalling with metronome regularity the billions, checks and rebates at the pump. Data from various study organizations are also called upon, such as this note from the Institute of Public Policies, which shows that the most modest have not lost in standard of living with the socio-fiscal measures during the five-year period and taking into account the job creations, contrary to an initial observation made at the end of 2021.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Purchasing power: Emmanuel Macron’s winning balance sheet

“The slate that is erased”

But faced with inflation that continues to climb throughout Europe, fueled by the war in Ukraine, after having been fueled by a more dynamic post-Covid-19 economic recovery than expected, the message is struggling to get through, failing to reach to curb a phenomenon over which the State has, in reality, no control. “The 18 cents you give on diesel is ridiculous! How to fill a tank at 140 euros? »a sales agent got annoyed with Emmanuel Macron during a trip to Côte-d’Or on Monday March 28, claiming to have no “nothing left to live on” after having “paid the bills”. It’s the mechanics of “the slate that is erased”, describes Jérôme Fourquet, director of the opinion department of the IFOP. “There is an ungrateful side that the current majority has already experienced with the abolition of the housing tax. » All that was given was “digested and forgotten, no one talks about it anymore”.

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