Immigration and Islam remain divisive issues in France
65% of people believe that "there are too many foreigners in France", according to our survey "French Fractures 2017".
If there are two issues on which the presidential campaign and Macron's optimism have in no way reduced French divisions, they are those of immigration and the place of Islam in society. In these areas, the malaise of the French is far from diminishing, even less from being absorbed.
The tension vis-à-vis immigration remains very strong: 65% of French people believe that“there are too many foreigners in France”, i.e. a level identical to 2016 and practically constant since 2014. On this point at least, the split between right and left retains all its relevance: if 95% of supporters of the National Front share this opinion, they are almost as numerous among those of the Les Républicains party (83%, +7 points in one year); conversely, this judgment is in the minority among supporters of La France insoumise (30%), the PS (46%) and En Marche! (46%). Similarly, social divisions remain a very clear discriminator: 77% of workers believe that there are too many foreigners in France, compared to 66% of employees, 57% of intermediate professions and 46% of managers.
Negative developments on Islam
In almost identical proportions, 60% of French people declare that, "Today, we no longer feel at home as before". Finally, 61% of respondents believe that, "generally speaking, immigrants do not make any effort to integrate into France", even if a majority (54%) admits that this integration is difficult for an immigrant.
The evolution of the outlook on Islam is just as negative. Only 40% of French people consider that the way in which the Muslim religion is practiced in France is compatible with the values of French society. This judgment was even more in the minority in 2013 and 2014 (26% and 37%), but, counter-intuitively, it had risen sharply (47%) in the aftermath of the jihadist attacks in Paris in January 2015. Since then, it has is again degraded.
Likewise, the feeling that Islam "seeks to impose its mode of operation on others" is shared by three-quarters of French people (74%, a practically constant level since 2014). This judgment is in the majority in all political categories: 94% at the FN, 85% at Les Républicains, 73% for En Marche!, 54% at the PS and 53% for La France insoumise; it is also so in the different age categories: 70% among those under 35, 73% among those aged 35-59, 81% among those over 60.
As for religious fundamentalism, in general, it appears as “a growing concern” for 85% of French people (+ 2 points in one year, + 7 in four years), against only 15% who believe that it is "an exaggerated problem that tends to be exploited by certain political parties". Finally, 46% of respondents consider that, "even if it is not its main message, Islam still carries within it the seeds of violence and intolerance" ; even if this judgment remains in the minority, it is clearly reinforced (+ 5 points in one year, + 13 in four years).