Emmanuel Macron wants to “piss off” the unvaccinated: “It can only hold up”, laments a political scientist

“It can only rob a significant part of these non-vaccinated who feel cornered (…) and then, it can also increase the tensions within French society between non-vaccinated and vaccinated”, analyzes the political scientist, director of the Opinion department at the Ifop polling institute, Jérôme Fourquet, Wednesday January 5 on franceinfo, the day after Emmanuel Macron’s statements in The Parisian [article payant], decided to “piss off” the unvaccinated “until the end”.

franceinfo: What is Emmanuel Macron trying to do with this sentence?

Jérôme Fourquet: Emmanuel Macron has certain figures in mind. First of all, the quite impressive number of vaccinated in the population, more than 90%, therefore, he has a large majority, if I may say so, a little behind him. He also undoubtedly has surveys which show that a large majority of French people approve of the vaccination pass. He also knows that this vaccination rate and this approval of the vaccination policy is maximal in his own electorate. So he is addressing his electorate who is a bit of an electorate of good students who have played the game, who are beginning to lose patience in the face of this epidemic and who somewhere criticize the attitude of people who do not want to be vaccinated.

“Very clearly, the first objective is to speak to his electorate. The second objective, to create a cleavage or a confrontation with opponents that he himself will have chosen.”

Jérôme Fourquet, director of the Opinion department at the Ifop polling institute

to franceinfo

The first to step up last night are Marine Le Pen, Éric Zemmour and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. It is the will to install this cleavage between those whom in “Macronie” one calls the progressives, the camp of the reason, and the populists. We had already had the same type of opposition altercations just a few days ago, during the controversy over the presence of the European flag under the Arc de Triomphe.

Is this a good method to convince the refractory to be vaccinated?

It’s counterproductive, I think. The message is very heavily scrambled. We have more than 12 million of our fellow citizens who listened to the wishes of the President of the Republic, four days ago, placed under the sign of national reconciliation and the unity of the country. There, there is in the exact sentence “the unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off”, an intention quite claimed. In my opinion, that can only rob a significant part of those unvaccinated who feel cornered, who feel singled out as second-class citizens and then, it can also increase tensions within society. French between non-vaccinated and vaccinated. It will also be recalled that the President of the Republic was himself confronted with violent scenes or gestures during a certain number of his travels and all this is probably not exactly the result of chance. We are back in an extremely tense climate where the president’s attitude can provoke this type of reaction which is completely regrettable.

What will be the consequences of this exit, according to you?

Where I think there is a real risk, it is not necessarily an electoral risk, it is not necessarily a risk in terms of presidential stature because, of course, a sitting president should watch his language , notably in an interview which has undoubtedly been read and reread. No, where I am more worried is that among the 10% of French people who today are not vaccinated, in the eligible population, we have a part of this public which has strongly focused in recent months, who feels cornered, who is bunkerized. We have seen quite vehement and virulent comments and behavior on social networks, in certain demonstrations, and we have also witnessed a number of threats in bursts which targeted elected officials, often from La République en Marche. And sometimes even these threats were carried out since the LREM deputy of Oise Pascal Bois saw his garage be set on fire. In this context – no pun intended – very flammable, the words of the President of the Republic can somewhere dry up some of the unvaccinated people who can take this as a sort of ultimate provocation or a declaration of war. This summer, when we were not used to it, we had some big demonstrations. 200,000 people marched against the health pass in early August. There are undoubtedly demonstrations in preparation. And the words of the President of the Republic, if they can have a certain coherence in terms of electoral tactics, conceal a risk-taking on the security front and in particular the security of a certain number of elected officials.

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