Only four out of ten French people can name top EU Parliament candidates

Many French people are still in the dark regarding the European Parliament. [Parlement européen]

A few weeks before the European elections, French voters do not seem interested and appear to have limited knowledge of the top candidates. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reports.

A new poll conducted by the BVA institute for French media shows that French people have a very limited interest in the European elections and know very little about the candidates. 59% showed interest in the elections and only 41% were able to name top candidates.

According to this survey, conducted online between 15 and 21 April on a sample of 5,324 registered voters, estimated voter turnout will range from 44% to 49%. This is only slightly above the participation rate France had during the previous European elections in 2014 (44%).

Four out of ten French people indifferent to EU elections

As many as 42% of French people interviewed by the BVA institute expressed a lack of interest in the upcoming 2019 EU parliamentary elections, six percentage points more than in the previous poll in March. EURACTIV France’s media partner La Tribune reports.

Voting intentions vary between regions. While 63% of people in the Île-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) regions intend to vote, people from Brittany (52%), the Hauts-de-France in northern France (53%) and Burgundy-Franche-Comté (55%) are less motivated.

Among those who intend to vote, only 56% were confident in their choice. Out of the 44% that are still undecided, 30% intend to vote but may change their mind, while 14% stated they would vote blank or have not expressed their intention to vote based on the candidates that are running.

Poor knowledge of the candidates

The candidates topping the lists are not well known to the French. Only 41% were able to name at least one top candidate.

Macron’s top candidate Nathalie Loiseau and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan from right-wing party Debout la France are the most recognisable as they are cited respectively by 26% and 23% of the respondents. Dominique Bourg from the green ‘Urgence écologie’ list was only cited by 3% of the respondents.

LREM and Le Pen’s Rassemblement National at the top of voting intentions

As with other surveys, the joint list of  République en Marche (LREM) and MoDem is neck and neck with the list of Rassemblement National. Nathalie Loiseau’s list has 23% voting intentions, compared to 22% for the list led by Jordan Bardella.

Macron’s LREM wants to turn EU elections into duel with Rassemblement National

Unlike other groups, LREM is allowing itself until the start of March to reveal who will lead its list for the European elections, hoping it will therefore have the time to mobilise its political partners at the European Parliament. EURACTIV France reports.

One should also note that 2% of respondents are willing to vote for a ‘yellow vest’ list.

On the left, the votes are scattered among green party Europe Écologie Les Verts (8%), left-wing La France insoumise (7.5%), socialist PS-PP (6%), and Génération. s (3.5%).

What are the stakes?

Voting intentions are quite strongly motivated by national issues: 30% intend to express their opposition to the government at the polls, while 9% will show their support.

Compared to a poll conducted by BVA at the height of the French gilets jaunes movement in December 2018, where 37% of respondents planned to vote to express their discontent with the French government, there has been a seven percentage point decrease.

Increasing number of ‘yellow vest’ lists for European elections

With the announcement of a third ‘yellow vest’ list for the European elections, the movement seems to be divided. However, it has managed to make taxation one of the central issues of the May 2019 vote for French people. EURACTIV France reports.

Respondents considered employment (88%), purchasing power (84%), and peace in Europe (83%) to be the most important issues, while combatting climate change (74%), migration (73%) and the EU’s economic competitiveness (72%) were considered less important.

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