The suburban vote. It is central to the electoral strategy put in place by La France insoumise. Behind Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who in a few years went from an intractable secularist to a defender of multiculturalism and religious or ethnic “minorities”, his fellow travelers have made these neighborhoods their priority target. A strategy that pays off in certain respects... But which could prove to be a loser in the long term, by acting as a repellent for a large part of the electorate, including on the left. At least this is what emerges from a survey carried out by Cluster-17 for the weekly Marianne on Wednesday September 20. The publication of this study comes a few days before the demonstration against police violence initiated by several political parties, including LFI, which is creating a stir on the left.
According to this work, the image of rebellious France is better in the famous “QPV” (priority districts of the city) than in the rest of France. When these residents are asked to associate rebels with adjectives, 17% of them choose the qualifiers “serious” and “representative”, compared to only 10% outside QPV. In the suburbs, 19% of respondents associate them with the term “courageous” and 38% with “popular”, compared to respectively 11% and 30% in the rest of the country.
Conversely, residents of QPV are less likely to give them negative descriptions: 36% of them describe them as “worrying” compared to 50% outside QPV. The adjectives “opportunistic” and “disconnected” are also used less in these neighborhoods, with 31% and 30% of respondents respectively compared to 40% and 38% outside the suburbs. Furthermore, LFI is the first political force in which French people in the suburbs trust to improve their purchasing power (28%), well ahead of the RN (17%). Note, however, that the majority of residents in these neighborhoods (47%) do not trust any party on the issue.
However, not all the lights are green. When asked which political party best represented them during the riots following the death of Nahel, the young delinquent shot dead by a police officer, only 16% of QPV residents named LFI. This is more than LR (3%), Reconquest! (3%), or even than the other left-wing parties, EELV (1%), PS (3%) or PCF (3%). But it is as much and even a little less than the RN, which comes first on this point (17%). Perhaps more worrying, when these French people were asked to rate LFI from 0 to 10 on its understanding of their daily problems, the movement only obtained a score of 4 in the suburbs. Here again, this is more than in the rest of France, where the score obtained is 2.5.
In the same way, controversies over the abaya or police violence resonate more favorably in the suburbs than elsewhere. But they are far from being considered priorities. Thus, 49% of respondents from these neighborhoods agree with the declaration of LFI deputy Paul Vannier according to which the ban on the abaya would be “racist, Islamophobic” and would constitute “a diversion aimed at masking the serious difficulties of this return to school », compared to only 34% in the rest of France. Likewise, 37% of them endorse the idea that “the power does not control the police”, to use the words of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, compared to only 24% in the rest of the country.
Please note, however, that these positions taken by LFI leaders on the police and abayas are respectively disapproved by 49% and 40% of QPV respondents and 70% and 59% of non-QPV respondents. This could bring grist to the mill of François Ruffin, who has spoken out on several occasions for a more measured line on these subjects, so as not to turn off a more moderate left-wing electorate. The deputy for the Somme, who stands out as one of the favorite personalities in the neighborhoods (5.6/10) behind Jean-Luc Mélenchon (6.4/10), is in favor of a union between the “France of bars » and the “France of the towns”.
In any case, these central subjects in LFI communication are considered secondary. The survey reveals that French people, both in the suburbs and outside the suburbs, agree that health, education, cost of living, security and housing are at the top of their priorities. The two groups surveyed by Cluster-17 only diverge on the sixth priority: police violence for the first, immigration for the second.
Finally, abstentionists, even more numerous than elsewhere in these neighborhoods, reject all political parties and LFI does not have any preferential treatment. For example, 61% of them do not trust “any” party to improve their purchasing power. In the same way, 64% did not choose “any” political group that was able to represent them during the riots. Finally, LFI only obtains a rating of 2.5 out of 10 from them on the ability to understand everyday problems.
LFI therefore generally does twice as well in the suburbs as in the rest of the country, the result of its electoral investment in these neighborhoods. However, it is not rooted there as a majority political force. For the moment, it maintains the historically dominant scores of the left, without recording any major progress. Above all, this electoral strategy constitutes a repellent for many voters in the rest of the country, where the most radical positions of LFI are poorly received, including by the left-wing electorate.