The Image of Napoleon in the French Public Opinion: Survey Results and Political Comparisons

2023-11-24 11:38:18

On the occasion of the release of “Napoleon”, a film directed by Ridley Scott, Ifop-Fiducial for Sud Radio questioned the French about their image of this admired, but controversial, character.

The emperor still enjoys a good image today among a majority of French people: 74% consider his actions “beneficial” for France (compared to 70% in 1969, 71% for the French (compared to 69% in 1969 ) and 52% for Europe (compared to 49% in 1969).

In detail, certain achievements are better perceived than the Civil Code 54 years ago (40% of French people think that this is what Napoleon did best, compared to 34% in 1969), the creation of high schools and the progression of education in general (20% against 5% in 1969) and social laws improving the living conditions of the French (12% against 3% in 1969). However, several of its achievements are considered less good than before, such as reforms and laws in general (13% against 20% in 1969) or its military victories (12% against 14% in 1969). Furthermore, many French people today do not comment on this question (25%), undoubtedly due to the test of time.

Concerning the least well-judged things, it is unsurprisingly the theme of war and violence that appears first (31% of spontaneous quotes). This is significantly less than in 1969, when 50% cited the war. The French also remain marked by the governance of the emperor considered dictatorial (10% of quotes). Note that many people do not express an opinion on this question (55% compared to 37% in 1969).

As for the contemporary political figures having the ideas closest to Napoleon I, it is first of all Nicolas Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen who come out on top jointly with 25% of citations and much stronger results within their own party: 47% of quotes for the former President among Les Républicains and 44% for Marine Le Pen among supporters of the National Rally. The same thing can be observed with Emmanuel Macron (21%, including 52% among Renaissance supporters) or Jean-Luc Mélenchon (12%, including 40% among La France Insoumise supporters). Ultimately, all supporters want their political leader to be close to the mythical Napoleon.

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