NewsFrench fears drive far-right surge as election looms

French fears drive far‑right surge as election looms

France on the brink of collapse? Citizens with a tragic vision
France on the brink of collapse? Citizens with a tragic vision
Images source: © Getty Images | Alain Pitton

8:02 AM EDT, June 29, 2024

A study by the Ipsos Center found that over 80% of French citizens believe their country is on the brink of collapse. The survey results were published by "Le Monde" newspaper on Friday. The respondents' pessimistic attitude is reflected in the poll results ahead of Sunday's elections in France, which suggest that the far-right will win.

"Le Monde" also reported other data from the Ipsos study, indicating that a significant portion of French society does not feel comfortable with the country's current reality. Many respondents expressed their dissatisfaction, stating that in their country, they "do not feel at home." Since 2013, the percentage of people expressing such feelings has remained at 60 percent.

In October 2023, as many as 64 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that they "do not recognize themselves in their homeland".

The newspaper "Le Monde" advanced the theory that such results stem from fears of the changes taking place in France. Many citizens fear losing what they have known and valued in their country. Social sentiment studies show that such fears significantly contribute to the rise in support for the far-right National Rally (RN).

Nicolas Lebourg, a historian and researcher, when asked about the reason for the French's fear and negative attitude towards their surroundings, responded that a large part of society feels a lack of belonging to a larger whole. "People are no longer united in communities by parties or trade unions," explained Lebourg.

According to Lebourg, the offer from the nationalist RN is a reaction to these fears and proposes "shielding themselves from the world's realities," which provides a sense of security to those French citizens who are troubled by modern times.

Will the far-right give the French a sense of security?

Based on the collected data, Jerome Fourquet, head of the opinion department at the polling firm IFOP, advanced the theory that the most critical issues for far-right voters are immigration, security, purchasing power, and energy and fuel prices.

Fourquet stated that this is why the National Rally politicians' slogan "we are at home" gives voters hope that RN will address these issues that are most important to them.

"Support for the National Rally is not just an expression of nostalgia for a past that guaranteed stability, but also an expression of faith that voting for this far-right party guarantees that its voters will find a place for themselves in French society," evaluated Fourquet.

"Le Monde" noted that far-right voters have expressed their dissatisfaction with the French political class so far. Now, even if this frustration plays a significant role in the decision-making process of RN voters, it is not the only reason for choosing this party. Le Pen's supporters now believe they are voting for a specific vision of the world that the National Rally represents.

Brice Teinturier, director of the polling firm Ipsos, explained that the famous term "Molotov cocktail vote," used by Serge July, co-founder of the newspaper Liberation, in April 2002 to refer to voting for the National Front, the former name of the National Rally, is no longer relevant.

Related content