The Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and inflation would they have ended up getting the better of our optimism? According to an Ifop survey, carried out for the Rencontres de l’avenir which were held from November 18 to 20 in Saint-Raphaël, and of which L’Express was a partner, 83% of French people now consider the future to be “worrying “. Above all, only 29% of those questioned in November 2022 define the months and years to come as “exciting” – in November 2019, just before the start of the health crisis, they were still 39%. While 17% of those polled even say that the future “indifferent to them” – they were only 12% in 2019 – the director general of Ifop Frédéric Dabi observes a “real French difficulty in planning”, the recent crises that have led “to a kind of withdrawal, with less appetite for a future weighed down by inflation, climate change or even the geopolitical situation”.
In detail, the categories that mostly express their anxiety are women (84% against 80% of men), the oldest citizens (88% of 50-64 year olds and 84% of 65 year olds and over), as well as supporters of Eric Zemmour (87%) and Marine Le Pen (93%, ten points more than the average).
Faced with this ambient pessimism, the French are nevertheless counting on various actors to “prepare their future and that of the country”: among them, the scientific community is the most popular with respondents, who say 74% place their trust in this body of job. “This shows once again that it is necessary to distance the antivax or anti-science discourse which can take up a lot of space on social networks: in the end, scientists still have as much credit in the eyes of the French”, analyzes Frédéric Dabi. Just like the police and the military, mentioned by 71% of those questioned – a figure which rises to 94% among the militants of the Republicans and the National Rally, and which falls to 54% among those of La France insoumise. “At a time when the French have the impression that nothing works anymore, this public institution is one of the few that escapes this feeling of decline,” said the director of Ifop.
Cited by 64% of respondents, mayors finally represent the third most popular player in “preparing the future of the French”, before teachers (63%), associations (61%) or even businesses (57%). “The local elected official is today the only one capable of rehabilitating the symbolism of politics with citizens”, deciphers Frédéric Dabi, even though 86% of those questioned believe that political parties are not trustworthy. The 50-64 age group seems to be the category of the population most suspicious of these parties, 91% of them indicating that they “do not have confidence” in them – a feeling less frequent among 18-24 year olds ( 77%) and among 25-30 year olds (81%).
According to the study, deputies and senators are no more successful: 74% of French people say they do not trust parliamentarians. After the wave of abstention noted during the second round of the 2022 presidential election, during which 28.01% of French people refused to go to the polls, 66% of people questioned by Ifop believe they “do not have confidence” in the President of the Republic to prepare for the future of France – only 5% of respondents say they have “complete confidence” in Emmanuel Macron. “Since 2017, the divide between citizens and the national political sphere has become gaping. These figures say a lot about the feeling that elected officials, with the exception of mayors, no longer have a hold on the daily life of the French”, considers Frederic Dabi. Respondents do not rely more on the media to “prepare the future of France”: 80% of them say they “do not trust them”, while social networks account for only 13% of favorable opinion.
On the other hand, certain “important assets of France” are widely mentioned by the respondents. After three years of the pandemic, half of them directly cite the French social model (health insurance and unemployment insurance) and its public services as one of the most valuable advantages in preparing for their future. Heritage, history and French culture are then mentioned by 38% of those questioned, and the country’s “leading position” in the fields of gastronomy, tourism and haute couture by 27% of them. . “When we look at the republican model, the score is however much lower, since this concept is only cited by 23% of French people”, notes the director of the IFOP. “The attractiveness and global influence of Paris”, France’s maritime space on the planet and its road, rail and airport infrastructures do not seem to be convincing either, being mentioned respectively by only 6%, 9% and 11% of respondents.