World

French Face Upcoming Elections With Marked Economic Pessimism

by Zsolt Nyiri, Ph.D.
Regional Research Director for Europe, Gallup World Poll

Majority feel current economic conditions are not good and are getting worse

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- On April 22, France will hold the first round of its presidential elections. Current President Jacques Chirac is not running for re-election again and has endorsed center-right candidate Nicolas Sarkozy. Part of the French political landscape for four decades, Chirac leaves a controversial legacy, particularly in light of a series of violent riots in France's economically deprived and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the fall of 2005. In 2006, French youth went to the streets to demonstrate against proposed labor laws that would have made it easier to fire people younger than 26.

It is not only minorities and young people who are unhappy with France's economic performance; in fact, about two-thirds of the overall population (68%) says current economic conditions are not good. In Germany, about half (51%) say the same about their own economy, while in the United Kingdom the figure is closer to one-third (36%).

Do you believe the current economic conditions in your country are good or not?

 

Good

Not
Good

Don't know/
Refused

France

24%

68%

7%

Germany

40%

51%

10%

United Kingdom

59%

36%

5%

To some extent, these perceptions are reflections of clear differences in the countries' economic situations. According to Eurostat data, France's unemployment rate was a high 9.4% in 2006, compared with 8.4% in Germany and just 5.3% in the United Kingdom. France's real GDP growth rate was 2.2% in 2006, below the average in the 25 (now 27) European Union member states (2.9%).

The French aren't putting too much stock in their economic future, either. Only 15% feel that economic conditions in the country are getting better, far fewer than the 51% of the Germans and 39% of the British who say the same about their own economies. In fact, an alarmingly high 70% of the French public thinks economic conditions are getting worse. Certainly, the widespread perception that the French economy is weak is an issue that candidates in the upcoming elections need to address.

Right now, do you think the economic conditions in your country, as a whole, are getting better or getting worse?

 

Getting
better

The
same

Getting
worse

Don't know/
Refused

France

15%

10%

70%

6%

Germany

51%

9%

36%

3%

United Kingdom

39%

6%

50%

5%

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,000 adults in each country, aged 15 and older, conducted between December 2006 and January 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/27091/French-Face-Upcoming-Elections-Marked-Economic-Pessimism.aspx
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