The French presidential election is fast approaching, and there are only six months left before the first round. Purchasing power and salaries are back in the center of French people’s concerns, and the presidential candidates are indulging in a debauchery of proposals.
Themes such as immigration and security were expected to be at the forefront, as candidates such as Marine Le Pen or Éric Zemmour are trying to do, taking up traditional right-wing themes, but in fact, it is purchasing power and wages that have taken the lead.
According to a think tank, the ‘Gracques’, while 56% of French people say their purchasing power has fallen since 2017, the figures show the opposite. According to the group, the average French household income has increased by 1% per year under Emmanuel Macron, which equates to an average annual gain of €334 per household. However, according to several economists contacted by the Journal du Dimanche, any increase in purchasing power remains difficult to confirm.
Nevertheless, a majority of French people have the clear impression “that they are not richer”. For there have been a series of price increases that weigh heavily on household budgets and even more on their morals, particularly with regard to gasoline, gas and electricity.
The surge in gasoline prices, on which Jean Castex was to speak on Thursday evening, October 21, has put the issue of purchasing power back at the center of the presidential pre-campaign. The situation risks weakening the majority on a subject on which it hoped to enhance its record.
It has been the talk of the town for the past two weeks, and its return to the center of the debate seems to have taken everyone by surprise: purchasing power. It’s a theme we didn’t see coming,” admits Frédéric Dabi, deputy director of Ifop. At the end of August, the priorities of the French were still health, education and delinquency.
The subject is, however, a classic during election periods. But, after months of health crisis and a new school year monopolized by identity and security issues imposed by Éric Zemmour, it was in the background. The surge in fuel prices has changed the situation. According to an Elabe study for BFMTV, Wednesday, October 20, purchasing power is the theme that will matter most to voters in the presidential election. They are 45% to mention it, far ahead of security (30%) and immigration (27%).