the survey showing the new French divisions

The Cluster 17 polling institute, in collaboration with the Res Publica foundation, published a “Survey on the relationship of the French to History, the Army and Europe”, which Marianne exclusive relay. A survey whose fascinating technical note, available here, provides information on French political divisions with respect to memory, their relationship with the European Union and NATO. Interview with Benjamin Morel, president of the Scientific Council of Res Publica, who analyzed the results of the survey in a note available here.

To discover the Cluster 17 survey.

Marianne: Doesn’t this poll above all show how much the memory and memory of the past is influenced by the ideological debates of the present?

Benjamin Morel: Absolutely! The two big losers in the historical approach developed by our countrymen are the long period and the national novel. For the French, the story seems to begin with the fall of the Berlin Wall at 63%. Three topics firmly rooted in the news are also highlighted; the abolition of slavery (55%), the law of separation of Church and State (47%) and the end of French colonization in Africa (30%). Without it being a surprise, then we are witnessing a retrospective interpretation of the significance of political events regarding their place in current debates. However, two events stand out and seem to be key markers in the perception of French history: the invention of writing (51%) and the French Revolution (54%). Although it was not mentioned in the first items, the memory of the Second World War was in the respondents, especially through the personalities they said they liked more. This is the case of Gaulle, Jean Moulin or Simone Veil.

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General de Gaulle remains the favorite personality of the French with 22% of respondents. However, he is closely followed by Simone Veil, ahead of Jean Jaurès and Napoleon Bonaparte, both at 9%. Here too, we notice the importance of current events in the way we read the past. The figure of Simone Veil is not so much agreed upon by identitarians and liberals, but marks a lower political divide than General du Gaulle.

We note the persistence of the left-right divide in memory. From there to say that there is a left memory and a right memory?

There are right and left memories. The baptism of Clovis (12%), the coronation of Napoleon (16%), the riding of Joan of Arc (17%) were hardly successful among the general population. However, it is necessary, on these topics, to note a singularity of the Zemmourien electorate, which mentions them respectively at 43%, 38% and 45%. We saw this tendency to a lesser extent in the electorate of Pécresse and Le Pen. Where Éric Zemmour’s electorate stands out the most, however, is in the memory of the Battle of Poitiers, mentioned by 54% against 18% of the general population. Relatively surprisingly, the figure of De Gaulle was less consensual and attached to the same electorate from the right. De Gaulle’s return and the 1958 Constitution were cited by 29% of respondents as important historical events. This is also the case with 52% of the electorate of Pécresse, 43% of the electorate of Zemmour and only 8% of the electorate of Hidalgo.

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Important events in the history of the left are hardly mentioned more than those claimed by the right. The Paris Commune and the election of François Mitterrand were mentioned by 19% of the French, May 68 by 28%. This last event was mentioned by 55% of the voters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and 38% of the voters of Fabien Roussel, it is less structured than the voters of Jadot or Hidalgo.

Although it is about a subject that crosses all electorates, one notices a strong importance of laïcité in the electorate of the left. 80% of Anne Hidalgo’s voters quoted her, 65% of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s, 61% of Fabien Roussel’s, 59% of Yannick Jadot’s. In contrast, it is mobilized by only 43% of the voters of Valérie Pécresse and 27% of the voters of Éric Zemmour. Contrary to the image of an upside down secularism, voters, in this regard, are subject to a relatively traditional orientation.

“Independent diplomacy is widely supported by public opinion, which dramatically rejects any hope of sharing the French seat on the Security Council with Germany. »

The memory of the left seems to have turned the page of the Mitterrand years. The former president is no longer considered the favorite historical personality except for a small part of the electorate of Anne Hidalgo (17%), and finds himself doubled there by Léon Blum (18%). Generally, left-wing voters prefer Jean Moulin and especially Jean Jaurès. The latter, identified by 19% of Anne Hidalgo’s voters to 23% of Fabien Roussel’s voters, is the one that seems to represent the most agreed figure in this political camp.

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Emmanuel Macron’s voters seem to be somewhat carried away by consensual figures, memorial variants of “at the same time”. They favor de Gaulle and Simone Veil and their opinion does not differ much from the average French on most subjects. However, the European theme sets them apart. They are 81% to mention among the great events of history the fall of the Berlin wall and 48% the Treaty of Rome. We find similar elements in the EELV electorate, which is more attached to the center than to the left.

It is interesting to note that the French are good enough for an armed intervention, in a logic go to war » and for maintaining a French diplomatic singularity…

Independent diplomacy is widely supported by public opinion, which notably rejects any hope of sharing France’s seat on the Security Council with Germany. Only 26% of the French say they are in favor of it, against 61% who oppose it. 57% of Emmanuel Macron or Jean-Luc Mélenchon voters are against it, 68% of Marine Le Pen voters. Only those who voted for Yannick Jadot give him a relative majority (45% against 38% who oppose).

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France’s relations with the war in Ukraine are both ambiguous and closely related to their past political opinions. A significant part of the public agrees with the idea that we should strengthen our diplomatic relations with Russia; 43% in favor, against 46% against. However, one notices on this topic, as in NATO, a strong political polarization. Anti-NATO groups are also the most pro-dialogue (50% of those who show solidarity; 64% of those with identification; 61% of social patriots; 75% of Éric Zemmour voters; 54% of voters of Marine Le Pen ; 48% of Jean-Luc Mélenchons).

Conversely, most Atlantic groups are also the most closed to strengthening ties (72% of centrists, 64% of social democrats; 63% of progressives). Despite these divisions, the commitment of French troops to Ukraine was overwhelmingly rejected by the French. 76% of respondents say they are against, against 18% who support it. Voters of Emmanuel Macron (25%), Anne Hidalgo (27%) and Yannick Jadot (24%) seem less reluctant to such a prospect. Éric Zemmour (92%), Nicolas Dupont Aignan (87%) and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (79%) were the most opposed.

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What does this survey say about the relationship with NATO and the European Union?

Leaving NATO is considered by only 34% of the French. 57% are against it. Zemmourian (66%), Melenchonist (53%) and Marinist (48% in favor against 43% against) support the exit. The voters of Yannick Jadot (89%), Emmanuel Macron (88%) and Anne Hidalgo (85%), seem to be most against it. Therefore, there is a real cleavage, quite stable and traditional, between the center and the more polarized voters on the right and left.

© Cluster 17

“A large number of French people want to give less power to the European Union. »

French reports vis-à-vis the European Union are somewhat ambivalent, while the last Eurobarometer for the winter of 2021-2022 indicated that they are among the most distrustful vis-à-vis the Union with 32 % confidence rate. A large number of French people want to give less power to the European Union (57% against 37%). There is strong polarization on this topic. Therefore, Marine Le Pen voters (80%) want to give less power to the Union. In Mélenchon’s electorate, this number is 61%. In contrast, 67% of Emmanuel Macron’s voters rejected the idea of ​​regaining power at the European level. Europe’s memory is also very divided. The Treaty of Rome was cited as an important event by 57% of Social Democrats and 59% of Centrists against 1% of Revolts. On the left, for example, 68% of Anne Hidalgo’s voters mentioned him against 16% of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s voters. On the right, the topic is structuring, although less divided: 35% of Valérie Pécresse’s voters mentioned it, against 9% of Éric Zemmour’s voters.

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On the other hand, the idea of ​​defending Europe is mainly supported by the French: 56% are in favor of the idea of ​​an army under the European flag. If we should not neglect the weight on this topic of the war in Ukraine and the diffuse feeling of a threat on the continent, the numbers are nevertheless significant. This is largely because, apart from the voters of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (54% against) and Éric Zemmour (65%), all electoral categories seem to be in favor of the proposal. However, these figures should be taken with caution. It is really not certain that the notion of a European army is completely clear for the respondents. Thus, 73% of eurosceptics are in favor of the proposal, which is counterintuitive to say the least, compared to 52% for multiculturalists.

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