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Who cares about global inequality? Citizens vs. politicians

Published 2 September 2019 in Surveys

There appears to be a considerable gap between citizens’ concern with global inequality and their perception of politicians’ interest in the issue.

  • 69% of French people say they are (fairly or very) concerned about global inequality.
    • Only 6% of French people do not feel at all concerned by global inequality.
  • At the exact opposite, 76% think that politicians are not concerned enough (or at all) by global inequality.
    • And according to the same respondents, only 18% of politicians are fairly or very concerned by this issue.

We can therefore see a gap of 50% between the levels of concern from French people on global inequality, and their perception of sufficient concern or action by politicians to tackle it. Indeed, answers to this particular question demonstrate the extent to which French people think that politicians:

    • are detached from the reality and challenges faced by the poor,
    • are not "really" concerned by inequality overall, and that their interests and priorities lay elsewhere,
    • have a very different starting-point than the general public on inequality.
      By extension, this difference in views calls into question the credibility of their politicians views and handling of contemporary challenges on a global scale.

The influence of political preference on views on inequality, both personally and in terms of whether politicians should be concerned

Both in terms of linear and proportional correlation, concern for inequality in the world increases with the tendency to vote for a left-wing candidate in the first round of the 2017 presidential election, with more similar rates for those voting for future president Emmanuel Macron and for respectively left- and far-left wing candidates Benoît Hamon and Jean Luc Mélenchon, than for those voting for the mainstream right-wing candidate, François Fillon. This alignment of left- and center-voters on development and poverty issues is frequent, in opposition to opinions from right-wing voters.

However, the most skeptical about politicians’ concern for global inequality were those who voted for respectively left- and far-left wing candidates Benoît Hamon (90%) and Jean Luc Mélenchon (86%), compared to those who voted for Emmanuel Macron, 24% of whom were more optimistic - if still a minority - in believing that politicians did, after all, care about global inequality.

Further reading

Baromètre de la solidarité internationale n°5 - Les français·e·s, le G7 et les inégalités dans le monde