A large majority of French voters are distrustful of their government and European Union (EU) institutions – a higher proportion than amongst UK citizens.
According to the Demos poll, 8 out of 10 French citizens have a low level of trust in their government at the EU Commission and Parliament.
“Mistrust in the European Parliament and the European Commission is also very high, since, on a scale of 1 to 10 measuring trust, 82 per cent of the population gives a score below 5 to both of these institutions,” the think-tank said.
“These results are particularly significant because they show the erosion of trust in the European institutions, which traditionally had a more positive image than national ones.”
However, the survey of 1,001 French adults also revealed that only 22 per cent of French citizens expressed an explicit desire to follow the UK and leave EU.
Demos also questioned British adults, 51 per cent of whom displayed a very low level of trust in the European Commission compared to 56 per cent of French people surveyed.
“Particularly surprising is that French respondents had less trust in the Commission than British respondents,” the report states.
Authors said the survey “demonstrated severe political disillusionment” and an “acute lack of trust in both French and European political institutions”.
Looking forward to the French presidential elections, with the first round of voting to be held on the 23rd of April, the report claims mistrust in establishment politics is likely to “manifest” at the polls.
Almost half of voters believe voting choices will be made to “prevent the election of a candidate who would be dangerous for France”, rather than making a choice in favour of a candidate with a “hopeful” message.
“The rise of the Front National appears not only to be a reflection of citizens’ fears, but also the expression of their anger towards the political system,” the authors say.
Front National leader Marine Le Pen was seen negatively by a significant minority, but 27 per cent of the French view her as a “strong leader” and 24 per cent associated her with “realism”.