‘Nothing new’ Macron could see a third of voters ABSTAIN with French weary of candidates

French election: Macron faces 12 contenders as race begins

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The majority of French people considering abstaining from voting say there is a lack of novelty in the agenda. At the same time, voters are unwilling to participate in the elections since they believe “the die is already cast” – and that there is no suspense regarding the result, the new poll data suggests.

Conducted by Ipsos/Sopra Steria on March 29 and 30, the poll showed abstention in the first round will likely sit between 28 and 32 percent.

This percentage would surpass abstention during the first round of elections in 2017, which was 22.2 percent, making it the higher abstention rate in 20 years.

The next highest abstention was recorded in April 2002 – when 28.4 percent of French voters didn’t cast their vote in the Presidential elections.

Abstention is likely to be much higher among young people. Among those asked, 40 percent of voters under 35 years old indicated they will abstain, compared to 15 percent of voters aged 70 and older.

The gap is smaller but still significant when it comes to the income level of voters, as most abstainers are in households with a net monthly income of less than €2,000 (37 percent).

According to the poll, French citizens in executive positions or in better-off households are less likely to abstain (24 to 29 percent).

Most abstainers (29 percent) are supporters of the left-wing party LFI, while the fewest abstainers (13 percent) were found in the supporting body of the governing party, LREM.

The main reasons given by those who might abstain in the first round of the presidential election refer to the lack of novelty and suspense.

Some 24 percent said they will abstain because “the candidates are saying the same things as in previous elections, there is nothing new in their proposals.”

An equal percentage of voters replied that they will abstain because “the die is already cast, there is no suspense about the results”.

One in five abstainers (21 percent) also stated they will do so because the candidates do not talk enough about issues that concern them.

The question of turnout was also raised in relation to the second round of the presidential election.

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In the hypothesis of an Emmanuel Macron / Marine Le Pen duel, potential abstention would be in the range of 30 percent to 34 percent.

France could see the number of citizens abstaining ranging from 34 percent to 38 percent in the event of an Emmanuel Macron / Jean-Luc Mélenchon second round, the poll showed.

Beyond the vote, the French appear very divided on the functioning of democracy in their country, since 51 percent replied that it works well, while 49 percent were of the opposite opinion.

Two out of three people (65 percent) would also be in favour of “the introduction of compulsory voting”.

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