An OpinionWay/ORPI poll found Macron’s En Marche / Republic on the Move (REM) set to win 27 % of votes in the first round of the National Assembly election on June 11, ahead of all other parties.
Two other polls published on Thursday by Harris Interactive had Macron’s party leading with 32 %, up three points since May 11 and six points since May 7.
But another survey sounded a cautionary note, finding that only 45 % of voters had confidence in Macron and even fewer in Prime Minister Edouard Philippe – the lowest ratings for French leaders starting their terms in over 20 years.
Those present at the cabinet meeting, the first since ministers were appointed on Wednesday, included economy and budget ministers from the right, a TV environmentalist put in charge of ecology and energy, and a veteran Socialist who was defense minister in the last government and is now in charge of Europe and foreign policy.
Philippe, a conservative who was de facto excluded from the Republicans for joining the government, told France Inter radio he would campaign to help secure an REM majority.
Republicans campaign leader Francois Baroin voiced his anger at the defections of Philippe, Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin, saying: “This is not the spoils of war, it’s a hostage-taking.”
Philippe said that, despite its diversity, the cabinet was built to last, but his assertion is likely to be tested over the coming weeks and months.
Several ministers, including Le Maire, have said they will stand in the parliamentary election, and Philippe confirmed that they would have to quit the government if they lost.
In addition, the four ministers who have held cabinet positions in the past will have to learn to work closely with colleagues who have come from civil society.
One controversial appointment was that of Nicolas Hulot, a well-known TV environmentalist who has no background as a politician despite having advised several previous governments.
News of his appointment on Wednesday sent shares in the dominant state power utility EDF sharply down amid concerns that he might want to force the pace of change in France’s nuclear-dominated energy mix.
Macron spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone on Thursday, and is on Friday visiting French troops stationed in Mali.