France becoming more xenophobic, far-right: Poll
France's recently concluded presidential and legislative elections reveal that the French are increasingly embracing a far-right-wing ideology that was once considered taboo, according to the latest survey by the Foundation for Political Innovation think-tank.
The survey, titled “Political changes and government majority in a right-wing France,” was published Monday by the Le Figaro daily newspaper.
It points to the shift of an increasing proportion of French people to the right politically, based on the analysis of the election results and three opinion polls with a sample of more than 9,000 people carried out parallel to the voting cycles.
The survey claims that large-scale abstention, blank votes, and protest votes, or votes cast in an election to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the choice of candidates or current political system, led to the marked success of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and her National Rally (RN) party.
“This success is visible not only at the polls but also in public opinion. The ideas of the RN are increasingly widely accepted,” it said.
It also demonstrates the shift towards the right through voting data. During the 2022 presidential election, the right-wing protest vote won 32.3% of the vote compared with 27.1% during the 2017 presidential election.
“Between 2017 and 2022, the protest vote in the presidential election is dominated by the right, while progressing more strongly on the right (+5.2 points) than on the left (+2 points),” the survey said.
After the RN bagged 89 seats, forming the largest opposition group in the National Assembly, nearly 47% of the respondents considered the development “a good thing.” An overwhelming 59% of respondents who position themselves on the right consider the RN capable of governing, and 57% believe the party advocates a society in which they would like to live.
Public opinion-wise too, 39% of the respondents said they “completely agree” or “tend to agree” with the party’s ideas. Besides the RN, Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV) is the other popular party that has wide acceptance (39%) in terms of ideology.
The majority of the voters of far-right parties RN (91%) and Reconquest! (94%) are worried about the immigration of foreigners. More than half of the respondents (63%) think that “most immigrants do not share the values of our country and this poses problems of cohabitation.” This opinion is in the minority among the voters (38%) of the left-wing coalition NUPES.
Le Pen’s RN party remains the most popular sociologically and is expanding its electorate sharply in smaller cities, the survey analyzes.
The survey paints a “worrying” picture politically, as the parties that were deemed capable of governing like the Socialist Party (PS) on the left or Les Républicains (LR) on the right no longer have the means to rely on their own forces.
President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble party also “suffered a limited but real disappointment with regard to the clear re-election.”