Despite the course of the Blues, “the French have in mind what awaits them”, warns Jérôme Fourquet

Ophelie Artaud
modified to

11:55 a.m., December 18, 2022

Does the World Cup have an effect on the morale of the French? This Sunday afternoon, the Blues will face Argentina in the World Cup final in Qatar. If the French team were to win its third star, between 300,000 and 600,000 people are expected on the Champs-Élysées. Proof that football unites?

Jérôme Fourquet, political scientist, department director at Ifop, author of the book The French Archipelago was the guest of the Grand Rendez-vous d’Europe1 / CNews / Les Echos this Sunday. He returned to the consequences that a victory for the Blues could have on the morale of the French. “Any increase in morale is good to take but we should not expect a reversal in the state of mind of our fellow citizens”, he immediately underlined.

“The French have in mind what awaits them at the start of the school year”

For the political scientist, “it will undoubtedly be a dose of dopamine but it will be limited in time because the French have in mind what awaits them at the start of the school year on the various and varied bill increases, the pension reformuncertainty about the supply of electricity…”.

According to a Odexa survey for the Figaro, for 75% of respondents, a victory for the Blues would cause a feeling of pride. “This is proof that this kind of event remains unifying”, analyzes Jérôme Fourquet at the microphone of Europe1 / CNews / Les Échos. “There is almost no event capable of bringing millions of French people to the streets with tricolor flags. The whole question is whether it is something fleeting or whether it changes the state of mind of an entire country,” he added.

A form of patriotism and national cohesion which, for the author of The French Archipelago, “are among the expected moments but for the moment, only football is able to make it happen to us, even if it is quite momentarily”. Especially since the French are quite pessimistic, as Jérôme Fourquet reminds us.

National cohesion without effect on the popularity of political figures

For him, this is linked to the fact that “we are becoming a middle power while we grew up thinking that we were still in the first division, if we want to keep the footballing metaphor. This hiatus is reduced in a parenthesis of the football world cup, especially if France still manages to play the first places”, analyzes the political scientist.

However, this feeling of pride no longer really has any consequences on the opinion that the French have of the political class, nor ofEmmanuel Macron. While in 1998, the victory of the Blues in the World Cup had allowed Jacques Chirac to gain 18 points in the polls, today “it’s a whole country that is celebrated and everyone plays their part. It can be the idea that the country still matters.”

In 1998, on the contrary, “the victory of the Blues came to synthesize a state of mind which was rather to win. Twenty years later, things were a little different and we will see what will happen [après cette finale]. In any case, there is no spectacular leap to be expected in the long run in the popularity of the President of the Republic, who himself said that sport should not be politicized”, concluded Jérôme Fourquet.

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