New polling: voters blame French government for slow vaccination campaign

Forty-six per cent said President Emmanuel Macron's government was responsible, rather than vaccine manufacturers or the European Commission.

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The French president Emmanuel Macron’s government is to blame for France’s slow Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which has seen only 25 doses per 100 people administered compared to around 60 in the UK and US, according to exclusive new polling conducted by Redfield & Wilton for the New Statesman.  

Macron’s government is blamed for a slow vaccination campaign
Voters unsatisfied with France's vaccine drive were asked: "In your view, who is most at blame for France’s slow vaccination rollout?"
Redfield & Wilton for the New Statesman

Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of voters said they were not satisfied with France’s vaccination campaign, compared to just 28 per cent who were. 
  
Of the respondents who were unsatisfied, 46 per cent said the French government was most at fault, compared to 12 per cent who blamed the European Commission and 17 per cent the vaccine manufacturers. Just 2 per cent blamed the public, another 2 per cent the British government, and 17 per cent said they did not know. 
  
The findings suggest that even though France has been receiving its doses through the EU’s troubled joint procurement scheme, voters ultimately ascribe responsibility for the vaccination campaign to the authority responsible for rolling out the vaccine – the French government – rather than the EU Commission, which negotiated supply. Some voters may also be blaming the government for choosing to participate in the joint procurement scheme in the first place, rather than securing doses alone. 
  
While the figures may spell trouble for Macron, who is eyeing up the next presidential election in a year’s time, they also suggest that if distribution of the vaccine speeds up, voters might credit his government in a potential boost to his re-election hopes. The rolling seven-day average of doses administered every day in France has continued to rise, according to data collated by Our World in Data, a project at Oxford University, and now stands at over 350,000. 

More than two-thirds of French voters view the country's vaccination programme as a failure
Voters were asked to rate France’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign so far from 0 (complete failure) to 5 (complete success).

Asked in the New Statesman poll to rate France’s vaccination campaign on a scale from zero (meaning a complete failure) to five (meaning a complete success), a plurality of voters – 28 per cent – chose two. 67 per cent of voters judged the vaccination campaign badly overall, including 18 per cent who judged it a complete failure. 33 per cent said it was going well, including just 2 per cent who judged it a complete success. 

Nearly half of French people view Emmanuel Macron's government as incompetent
% who answered the question: "How do you view the current Government of France?"
Redfield & Wilton for the New Statesman

Overall, almost half (47 per cent) of the 2,200 eligible voters surveyed between 14-15 April viewed Macron’s government as incompetent, as opposed to just 14 per cent who see it as competent. 32 per cent said it was neither competent nor incompetent, while 7 per said they didn’t know. 

Ido Vock is international correspondent at the New Statesman.

He co-hosts our weekly global affairs podcast, World Review.

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