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Poll finds xenophobia on the rise in France

The divide between the French and their elected leaders is growing, according to a new poll carried out by Ipsos, which also shows that the French are increasingly wary of foreigners.

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Over the past year, the English and American journalists have written widely on what they call the French “malaise”.

An Ipsos survey carried out earlier this month and published on Tuesday suggests that the description may be accurate, finding, in particular, that the French are increasingly pessimistic about their political leaders and wary of foreigners.

According to the poll, 65% of French people think that most politicians are corrupt (a three-point increase since last year) and 84% think they are motivated primarily by personal gain (a two-point rise).

Meanwhile, 78% of those questioned think “the political system does not work well” and “their ideas are not represented” (six points higher than last year).

At the same time, the French seem eager for a politician who can fix things. A whopping 84% of those polled said they would like “a real leader to restore order”.

Far right benefits

Perhaps most strikingly, the poll found that the French are increasingly hostile towards people from other countries. Sixty-six percent of those polled said there are too many foreigners in France, with 59% agreeing that “immigrants don’t try hard enough to integrate” (four points higher than last year).

Though a rejection of Islam is less widespread than in last year’s poll, 63% of French people think the religion “is not compatible with French values” (compared to 74% in 2013).

The combination of rising pessimism and xenophobia seems to benefit the far-right National Front party, which, according to 34% of people polled, is a credible political alternative.

The survey results indicate a widening gap in opinion between wealthier and poorer respondents. For example, 72% of high-level executives think that France should embrace globalisation (16 points higher than last year), while 75% of factory workers believe the opposite (13 points higher than last year).

Meanwhile, only 26% of high-level executives, but as many as 64% of factory workers, would like the death penalty to be reinstated.
 

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