In a survey on French public opinion about development, global poverty, and the issues related to war in Ukraine, we investigated public views on whether refugees should have the same rights as French citizens when they come and stay in France. Approximately 30% of the population is in favour of equality when it comes to rights between refugees and French citizens, 46% is against, and 24% of people are uncertain, or do not have an opinion.
The factor that seems to be most correlated with public opinion is the individuals’ view on government’s efforts to help refugees and immigrants. As shown in Figure 1, people who think the government should do more for refugees and immigrants are more likely to support equality of rights between French citizens and refugees.
This is true if we look both at a question specifically asking about government efforts to help refugees coming from Ukraine, and at a further, broader question that asks about government efforts to help migrants and refugees more generally.
Direct action to support Ukrainian refugees also appears to be linked to support for equality of rights: people who have taken actions, such as donating, collecting goods, engaging with the issue in social network in support of Ukrainian refugees are more likely to support equality of rights compared to people who have not. For example, 38% of those who donated money to support refugees support equal rights, compared to 22% of those who didn’t donate, reported supporting refugee equality.
Age, gender, income, education and other factors don't significantly influence refugee support.
While demographic and social factors such as age, gender, income, and education do not significantly explain support for equality of rights, other political factors affect public opinion.
Being more right-wing and voting for Marine Le Pen during the first round of the presidential election in 2022 greatly and significantly decreases the likelihood of supporting equality of rights. On the contrary, being more left-wing and voting for a NUPES candidate increases the likelihood.
Table 1: Profiles of least and most supportive members of the French public
To better visualise the factors that influence support for equality of rights, Table 1 includes two profiles at the opposite ends of the support scale. We estimate that 2.1% of individuals whose profile matches profile 1 (or is close to it) support equality of rights between French citizens and refugees. On the contrary, approximately 97.8% of people corresponding to profile 2 (or close to it) would support having equal rights.