'Left-wing country that votes for the right' - why French voters are moving right

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 26 Jan, 2022 Updated Wed 26 Jan 2022 10:40 CEST
'Left-wing country that votes for the right' - why French voters are moving right
Former minister and Centristes party candidate for the Normandy Region Herve Morin goes to the ballot booth at a polling station in Epaignes, for the first round of the French regional elections on June 20, 2021. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)

The French electorate is moving further to the right, according to a new poll of 10,000 voters, although trust in president Emmanuel Macron has increased slightly over the last year.


From representative sample of more than 10,000 people inscribed on the French electoral list polled between December 23rd 2021 to January 10th 2022, 32 percent identified as right-wing - an increase of 8 percent since 2016, according to a study by OpinonWay published earlier this week. 

Since the election of French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017, the percentage of people identifying as belonging to the far right has crept up from 7 percent to 11 percent. 

The graph from a recent study on political attitudes in France shows that more and more people identify as being on the right. Centrist and left wing political identification has remained largely stable. Droite means right-wing and gauche means left-wing.  Source: OpinionWay/CEVIPOF
The poll found that 39 percent of French people were satisfied with their lives (a four percent increase from last year) while 20 percent were dissatisfied (a one percent decrease).

35 percent of those surveyed said they had confidence in the government - the same proportion as last year - while 38 percent said that they trusted the President - a 2 percent increase on last year. 

The vast majority of those polled, 79 percent, agreed with the statement that "politicians talk too much but don't act enough" - a five percent increase on last year.

Overwhelming majorities believe that the economy benefits bosses to the detriment of workers, that the government should take from the rich and give to the poor, that there are too many immigrants in France and that unemployed people can find a job if they look for one. 61 percent of those polled said that Islam represented a threat to the country. A majority said that more had to be done to advance the place of women in society. 


This confusing mix of results was summarised neatly by sociologist, Roger Sue, writing in Le Monde: "France is a left wing country that votes for the right." 

"The electorate has become more volatile," he continued. "The top down nature of out institutions has failed to produce republican integration."

More than a quarter of those polled said it would be a good idea if the army governed France, 39 percent were in favour of an unelected strongman and 52 percent were in favour of government led by experts rather than elected officials. 

Just under half of voters believe the government has managed the Covid pandemic well. 


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