Press play to listen to this article
PARIS — He shunned older mainstream media like Le Monde and Liberation to speak to “Brut,” “Jeuxvideo.com” and “The Big Whale,” three websites for hip millennials and PlayStation gamers.
And on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on public radio about his soft spot for French rapper Orelsan, known for his sharp social observations, and gave a 45-minute interview to the “Booska-P” site, which claims to be the “place of reference for the culture of young city dwellers”.
In a final push ahead of Sunday’s presidential run-off, Macron – who has a strong lead in the opinion polls – opted for the look of a cool 44-year-old president of his time. But above all, he belatedly pushes the vote of young people, a part of the electorate that he is struggling to conquer.
Earlier this month, many young people abstained or voted for far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round of the presidential election.
“There is a perception among young people that Macron has not pursued any youth policy,” said Jean-Daniel Lévy, director of politics and polls at analytics firm Harris Interactive. “They feel he hasn’t embodied their concerns about the environment…he hasn’t talked about it, he hasn’t acted on it.”
“Sometimes there is recognition, but there is no desire from Macron,” Lévy added, calling the president “young-old”.
Although France is an aging country, there are more than 15 million voters between the ages of 20 and 39, according to the Insee statistics institute in Paris. As the campaign progressed, Macron gave more interviews at millennial outlets and visited areas populated by younger voters.
In the commune of Saint-Denis, in northern Paris, Macron this week discussed immigration and the headscarf with a young, diverse and mostly working-class community that strongly supported Mélenchon in the first round of elections.
On Jeuxvideos.com, one of the main video game sites in France, the president paid tribute to several French video game developers, including Ubisoft, Quantic Dream and Ankama, noting that “few countries have jewels like us”. .
In “The Big Whale”, a new online platform specializing in blockchains and cryptocurrencies, Macron said that Web 3, a new type of decentralized Internet service, was “an opportunity not to be missed”, and said describes “esports”, or electronic sports, as “another area of French excellence”, citing esports teams like Team Vitality and Karmine Corp.
Speaking to Booska-P, Macron was asked about police and sexual violence, Islamophobia and job insecurity for young people.
Although he hangs out with the kids and talks rap and tech, Macron struggles to break through and engage young voters on their top concerns like climate change and social inequality.
A recent Ipsos poll found nearly half of people aged 18-24 and 25-34 did not vote in the first round of the April 10 election. In the last election, in 2017, more than 25% of people aged 25 to 29 did not vote in either round.
In the first round, young voters flocked to Mélenchon, while far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, Macron’s opponent in Sunday’s second round, won wider support than the president among voters aged 25 to 64 years old.
Mélenchon’s proposals to end nuclear power, industrial agriculture and pesticides have struck a chord with young people, and his defense of a cultural mix between different communities in France has resonated with young French immigrants. .
The veteran far-left leader also triumphed in France’s major suburbs, winning more than 60% of the vote in Saint-Denis and 40% in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, which has one of the poorest populations. youngest in France.
On the other hand, Macron’s proposals on climate change do not seem to have convinced young voters.
Last month, Action Climate Network, a federation of national and local climate change advocacy groups, published a critical review of Macron’s policy proposals.
“We find ourselves with two people who do not take the climate crisis seriously: Marine Le Pen, for whom it is not a subject, and Emmanuel Macron, who talks about it less [today] five years ago,” Camille Etienne, a 23-year-old climate activist, told HuffPost.
FRANCE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL POLL POLLS
For more survey data from across Europe, visit POLITICS Survey of surveys.