Sarkozy's Popularity Problem

FiveThirtyEight digs into the source of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's plummeting popularity, focusing on three concurrent financial scandals (two of them involving Liliane Bettencourt, France's wealthiest woman). In many ways, Sarko is his own worst enemy:

His carefree style and aggressive programme (e.g. lowering taxes on the upper middle class and removal of inheritance taxes) quickly drove away any conciliators on the center-left, however. At the same, personal issues like his high-profile divorce in October 2007 and subsequent rapid courtship of Italian superstar Carla Bruni (they married February 2008) distracted the front pages for several months, a growing sense of distrust was manifesting.

An additional underlying factor was that Sarko's reputation of cavorting with his friends and supporters among the extremely wealthy left an impression of privilege and disconnect on many centrists and even some in the center-right. It is within this paradigm that the recent accusations and revelations begin to have cumulative effects on his Presidency.

Read the full story at FiveThirtyEight.

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Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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