The survey conducted by Ifop on the evening of the first round of the presidential election shows that a significant part of the Catholic electorate went to a candidate from the national or sovereigntist right. Moreover, the clear emergence of a communitarian vote of the Muslim electorate which went massively towards the representative of La France Insoumise [France Unbowed] (LFI) must be noted.
The survey carried out among the main denominational electorates after the first round of the presidential election, by the team of Jérôme Fourquet, director of the Opinions and business strategies division at Ifop, brings out several facts concerning the Catholic vote, but also the Muslim vote.
Ifop examines the French Catholic vote according to three axes: participation in voting, the candidate chosen, the reasons which motivated this choice.
First conclusion: abstention is inversely proportional to religious practice. If 74% of non-practicing Catholics went to vote on April 10, 2022, 81% of Catholics who go to Mass occasionally did so. A proportion that rises to 86% for regular practitioners: a rate much higher than what has been observed at the national level.
Second conclusion: Emmanuel Macron is still on in the ascendent among regularly practicing Catholics who voted for him at 25%, but he is now closely followed by Marine Le Pen (21%), herself closely followed by the candidate of La France Insoumise (LFI) which won 19% of the vote of this group.
The other sovereigntist candidates – Eric Zemmour, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan – obtained respectively 16% and 3% of the votes of regularly practicing Catholics, so many votes that added to those of Marine Le Pen compose a bloc representing an unapologetic right.
To support this conclusion, Ifop recalls that in 2012, practicing Catholics only voted 15% for Marine Le Pen, a rate that increased to 19% in 2017, when the trend embodied by Eric Zemmour was absent from the political spectrum.
Muslims granted their votes to Jean-Luc Mélenchon with 69%; it is, surprisingly, the only religious denomination to have so massively focused on a candidate, which explains its success: the president of LFI has received the dividends of an Islamo-leftist posture which has won him a communal vote that most media will have difficulty seeing.
Third conclusion: the reasons for voting vary within the Catholic electorate. Regular practitioners put insecurity and the fight against crime – and in a way, the dilution of French identity – at the forefront of their concerns (72%) just before Islamist terrorism (68%) and the health crisis (66%).
A trend that is reversed when religious practice is occasional or non-existent: it is then the health crisis that takes over, followed by criminal activity and the struggle against inflation.
Another notable fact: the fight against terrorism is only a concern for 40% of French Muslims who voted in the first round, criminal activity is only a concern for 52% of them, and the fight against illegal immigration does not exceed 28%. The concerns of this portion of the electorate are therefore, are about several fundamental social issues, contrary to those of French Catholics, as well as Protestants.
This result confirms the analysis of the author of the survey, developed in 2019 in his book L'archipel français, [The French Archipelago] which sees in today's France, an archipelago of islands ignoring each other, with the establishment of a multicultural society, the dislocation of common cultural and religious references, “as illustrated, for example, by the spectacular diversification of first names.” The author concluded that “in this context of fragmentation, the aggregation of special interests within broad coalitions has simply become impossible.”