Polls - Sondages : Society - Société



some interesting parallels i found in both french and american polls conerning students and education:

US: in a poll listing various problems in school, students were asked to mark "very serious", "somewhat serious", or "not too serious" The topics most frequently marked "very serious" are as follows

1. students pay too much attentiont o what they look like 80% 2. Too many disruptive students 75% 3. Students cheat on homework 68%

it then asks, thinking about people your age who you know, how respectful are most of them toward each other? 5% not repectful at all 18% not too repectful 57% somewhat repectful 20% very respectful

in a similar french poll, the question asks "parmi la liste suivante de problemes qui se posent aujourd'hui a l'ecole, quel est celui qui vous parait le plus important? En premier? Et ensuite?

(total des citations) La violence dans les ecoles 70% la drogue dans les ecoles 45% le Manque d'enseignants 26% l'ansence de l'enseignement des valeurs 23% l'echec scolaire 18% la baisse du niveau scolaire 15%

it seems odd to me the problems listed on the american side. its almost as if the issues on each side or reversed. I would imagine (especially within the past two years with the multitude of occurences of high school violence in the US) that most americans would put violence/drugs in school as one of their main concerns. Does there exist much violence in schools in France. I haven't heard of any serious situations but then again the US is quite an insular country with issues such as this.

its also interesting that american students acknowledge that there is a lack of respect among peers.

I have found data from May 2000 that says the # online US households = 50 million and the # online households in france = 3 million (12%) both germany and england had more users germany = 7.1 (20.7%) UK = 6.4 (27%)

the european countries seem to be far behind in internet connectivity and use. does the french gov't have any programs to further internet use?

The "abortion pill", developed in France, was recently approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), it can now be sold in the United States. What do you think about this pill and its availability?

hello all, I found an interesting poll result in the IFOP (French) site about parenting. For the French parents, respect, honnesty, tolerance, politeness are the top principle values that they want to teach to their children; while 'hard-working' seems to rank very low in the list of values. This result confirms many of our hypothesis in the questionnaire, that the French are more concerned with human interactions and they tend to perceive parents as authority figures. I can imagine that if the same poll was conducted for americans, i would find values like 'creativity', 'courage', 'independence' which are more individualistic values. Americans generally want their kids to be strong and they don't expect their children to obey them all the time. Besides, americans would tend to make their children work more because they want to send their kids to good universities and they expect their children to be independent at an earlier age. Ruby


What percentage of you guys at INT work during the summers? How are the work opportunities in France for people our age during the summers? Here in the US the tradition is to work during the summers and save some money to pay for college. Fortunately in France university is much cheaper.


I found these data on the BVA website for France:

Religious Practice:

Regularly Practice: 12%

Irregularly Practice: 30%

Non-practicing: 57%

This is very interesting because there are fewer people in France regularly practicing religion than I would have thought. Has this changed recently or has this been the case for a long time?

I have not been able to find a corresponding poll for the US, although I did find that 44% of Americans are "unchurched", which means that they are not members of a church and have not attended services other than special religious holidays in the last 6 months. If we compare this with the non-practicing people in France (57%), it appears that the US may be more religious than France, which seems reasonable to me.

For France: Violence in Schools One school polled students to see how they would feel having police officers present in their school during the day.

Completely favorable 37% For the most part favorable 40% Completely opposed 14% For the most part opposed 8% Not sure 1%

I found this poll quite interesting because I think many more students in America would be opposed to such an act. In light of recent events, it makes sense to have police officers present in schools. However, I wouldn't want to have police present while I was in school. School is supposed to be a safe environment and the presence of police would be uncomfortable and strange.

Is violence in French schools a major problem like it has been in the United States?

For France

The most important problems facing families today:

The upbringing of children 34% The absence of one parent 21% The relationship of the parents 15%

These were the top 3 results. Many of the French students responded that a good parent is one that provides their child with a good upbringing. So, this poll confirms their responses. Also, the other 2 issues I feel would not play such a big role in American families. There are so many children today who come from homes with only one parent due to divorce or death. Also, a large percentage of children come from broken homes due to divorce in the United States. I do not think that these issues are really a big deal anymore because a lot of children go through them and turn out like every other kid.


An interesting statistic from Gallup:

Do you think it is morally wrong for a couple to have a baby if they are not married?


Wrong: 47% Not Wrong: 50%


Wrong: 8% Not Wrong: 91%

This is interesting and consistent with the idea that France is more "progressive" than the US in social aspects. In many ways the US is much more traditional. Maybe this is because religion is a stronger force in the US (see comment #6)?

My question is: is having a baby without getting married common in France, or are people simply not opposed to it?


I looked at the results for the following question on IFOP: "According to you, what is most important in life"?

Surprisingly, the most popular answer was "to be in good health," at 64%, followed by "family life" at 55%. I was wondering why so many French people chose good health as their first answer.... I'm sure Americans would also say that good health is important, but I doubt it would be their number one choice. And I think Americans on the whole face more health-related problems, so it doesn't make sense....

Also, the least popular answers by the French were "money," at 8%, and "professional life," at 10%. I think this confirms what we have been discussing on the forums so far. French people don't seem to value money/ material goods/ a good job that leads to money as much as Americans. If the same survey had been conducted in the U.S., I'm sure these answers would have been a lot higher on the list. Would you agree?


As of February 24, 2000, 66% of Americans are in favor of the death penalty, the lowest level in 19 Years, which means there will be a decreasing trend probably. As for the French, though, the numbers are pretty high for a country that has banned it. 50% are in favor, and 46% are opposed (4% no opinion), and that seems incredibly high since all of you seemed horrified at it in the forums. Does this mean that the ones in favor of it are older people?


I found stats for practice of religion in the US: (As of March 29, 2000)

61% say religion is very important in their lives, 68% are members of a church or synagogue, and 60% attend religious service on a regular basis (36% attend weekly or more often, 11% almost every week, and 13% about once a month).

That is significantly higher than your stats, so I'm also inclined to say this is a reason Americans are more traditional in their beliefs.

On the topic of "La mondilisation économique et financière" I discovered that the majority of those polled in France believe that it is menacing to "l'identité de la france." Although I couldn't find a similar set of statistics for the US, I would suspect that many people here feel that globalization is a thing to be desired. Perhaps this is because our sense of identity is not as well developed as that of France's. Anybody think I'm flat out wrong or have another hypothesis?

I would like to ask a question based on Ruby's findings about what traits French parents consider are most important to inculcate in their children. Respect is listed at # 1.

What I am curious about is just what form this respect takes - whom do your parents want you to respect, and how do they want you to show this respect? For in your responses to "vos parents vous critiquent" many of your indicated that you would defend yourself, which to me demonstrates a lack of respect, at least towards your parents.

Please enlighten me.

Wnadoo.fr is the most known site for the French. Acoording to an IFOP-Newbiz poll, 15% of French people were familiar with wanadoo.fr, followed by 10% for yahoo.fr and 9% for tf1.fr

In a poll on the US decision to bomb Iraq, 25% of the French were in favor, while 66% not. Why do you think France wants to do business with dictators like Saddam? Recently France has been making such overtures there. Is business more important to teh French than human rights? Or they just feel like thumbing the US?

En effet la France est un pays assez peu religieu, grace surtout à deux evenements majeur, la revolution française en 1789 qui a poussé l'anticléricalisme à son paroxysme, et la séparation de l'Eglise et de l'Etat en 1905.

Bien qu'officiellement aux US il y ait aussi séparation de l'Eglise et de l'Etat, on trouve normal qu'un président finisse ses discours par "god bless you all,...", et que, par exemple, Reagan dise un jour qu'il "ne considère pas les athés comme des citoyens à part entière".

Ceci serait inconsidérable (heureusement) en France...

just a remark to Ian's comment. I think globalization is just a 'euphemism' of Americanization. US is so economically powerful that it dominates many other cultures, for example, American music and shows are so popular in other western or even eastern countries; American culture permeates everywhere and is so inresistable because of its highly developed information technology and economical power. of course, globalization is probably favored by most americans because it could have a touch of cultural domination. for a country (other than US) to be globalized, it is in a danger of losing its own identity, isn't it? as an international student from Hong Kong, i am not very appealed to this notion of globalization because it seems like an 'one-way' influence to me. I don't know if i am explaining it clearly, but isn't it more interesting for people to be different from each other? any comment?

Here's another poll I found concerning family. The questions is 'quelle est celle que vous preferez pour une vie de famille?' se marier ----- 66% vivre ensemble sans se marier ----30% ne se prononcent pas ---4% Is this a common practice for french couples to live together without getting married? what would be the general attitude towards them? and just one more- what would be considered as the best age to get married in France?

Pour répondre à Raja Shankar, je pense que le problème est plus compliqué que ça : en effet, je n'ai rien contre le fait de bombarder l'Irak mais quel est l'intérêt de laisser Saddam Hussein au pouvoir et d'imposer un embargo qui ne fait qu'affamer la population et par conséquent renforcer les sentiments anti-US ? En outre, vous êtes intervenus en Irak à cause du problème du pétrole alors que vous semblez vous être beaucoup moins impliqués lors des émeutes au Timor ou en Yougoslavie (Bush Junior a d'ailleurs annoncé qu'il voulait retirer les troupes US restantes de ce pays). Pour moi, la diplomatie est malheureusement un jeu de pouvoir en vue d'intérêts stratégiques et économiques. Le meilleur exemple étant à mon avis que les Etats-Unis ont refusé de ratifier le traité international concernant l'interdiction des mines anti-personnelles. De même (et c'est pareil pour la France), les multiples atteintes aux droits de l'homme en Chine n'ont pas empêché nos 2 pays de chercher à à accroätre leurs échanges commerciaux avec cet immense marché potentiel.

Peine de mort: En réponse à Susan, effectivement le pourcentage de la population pour la peine de mort est assez important, il faut savoir qu'à son abolition en 1980, ils étaient 63%! Mais au cours des années le nombre diminue régulièrement, au fur et à mesure que l'ancienne génération passe... C'est en fait seulement cette année que la majorité du pays est contre la peine capitale (selon les tous derniers sondages), en fait ce qui fait le plus peur aux français c'est qu'un innocent soit tuer... et les erreurs judiciaires sont loins d'être rares.

A ce propos je voulais connaätre votre opinion sur votre justice, la trouvez vous efficace, équitable? Quel est l'influence de l'argent?

Mondialisation: Pour répondre à Ian, je dirai qu'il est normal qu'un américain ne se sente pas menacer puisque c'est votre culture qui envahit le reste du monde et rarement le contraire.

Les français ont d'une manière générale peur de la mondialisation car on pense qu'elle va tout uniformisé. Pourtant ces differences sont une véritable richesse et je ne pense pas qu'elle puisse disparaätre aussi facilement, il faut seulement savoir accepter la mondialisation en respectant les differences de chacun et pour cela apprendre à se connaätre, mais ne serait-ce pas ce que l'on est en train de faire? ;-)

This is in response to Guillaume's question... Money definitely plays a major role in our judicial system. If you can pay top dollar for an attorney, chances are that you are going to win your case. When the court appoints a lawyer on your behalf, the odds are clearly not in your favor to win the case. It is unfortunate but very true in our system that this exists. I believe that our judicial system could be improved immensely.

In response to Guillame's question about the fairess of the American judicial system, the system here is by no means fair. In major trials there is a jury that decides whether the accused person is innocent or guilty. The problem is that in some cases members of the jury will discriminate against the person accused based on his/her race, nationality, religion, etc which makes the entire process anything but fair. Statistics show that African-Americans are almost twice as likely to get convicted if they end up in court,which is very unfortunate.

I've heard that in France a person standing trial is guilty until proven innocent, whereas here in America it is innocent until proven guilty. Is this true?

I agree with Kelly and Kapil-- the judicial system in America isn't very fair. Wealth usually influences the outcome of the trial, and the verdict is given by 12 individuals who may or may not be impartial. Of course there are lots of cases where justice is served, but for all these cases, there are the times when it isn't.... The media also plays a huge role in cases that concern prominent people or important decisions. And with all the media coverage, it's often difficult to find jury members who haven't been influenced by some form of propaganda or another.

So how does the judicial system in France work? Do you have a judge and 12 jurors, and during the trial, are the jurors not allowed to come in contact with any sort of media (i.e. TV or newspapers that could cover the case?) And since separation of state is enforced so strictly in France, I suppose witnesses don't swear on the Bible to tell the "truth and nothing but the truth"?

Response to Eric:

You mentioned the separation of church and state that happened in 1905. I did not know about this, so thanks for mentioning that. Does that mean that public schools in France have no religious affiliation now? This is different than Quebec, where the schools are still catholic.

As for your comments about church and state in the US, I definitely agree. For example, in my lifetime, there has yet to be a president who is not deeply religious or even non-practicing. Things won't change this year, no matter who is elected tomorrow! When a reporter asked George Bush which philosopher affected him the most, he replied "Jesus Christ". Now that's fine for a deeply religious person, but many people saw it as pandering to the religious right, which has a lot of influence in this country. I, for one, would like to see politics become more secular here, like in France.

Raja, je suis totalement d'accord avec Vincent : la position des US et de leurs alliers envers l'Irak est très discutable. On sait en effet que l'embargo n'a eu qu'un seul effet : tuer des enfants irakiens. Sadam est toujours au pouvoir après pratiquement 10 ans d'embargo. Et beaucoup de Français n'acceptent pas la position américaine (ceci peut expliquer le résultat du sondage).

De plus, pourquoi les US comme beaucoup de pays occidentaux (la France par ex) ne sont-ils pas intervenus clairement au Timor oriental ù des milliers de gens se faisaint massacrer ?

Il y a aussi l'exemple du Tibet et encore beaucoup d'autres. Il semble donc que les pays occidentaux soient très intéressés par des crises économiquement ou politiquement stratégiques.

Qu'en penses-tu ?

Peine de mort (and the judicial system):

A ce propos je voulais connaätre votre opinion sur votre justice, la trouvez vous efficace, équitable? Quel est l'influence de l'argent?

Hi Guillaume! It's definitely a compromise between individual rights and justice of the system. Our country was founded on certain principles, one of which is "innocent until proven guilty," which means that unfortunately we let the guilty off sometimes. However, that greatly reduces the chances of convicting an innocent person (in terms of the death penalty too). And yes, it helps if you have money which does encourage inequality, but that's inevitable in a society that prides itself on individual achievement where better lawyers are rewarded by better pay.

To respond to some of the American criticism about our jury system, everyone is biased and affected by the media in some way. 12 peers doesn't mean they'll come up with the right verdict, but it's better than one judge wrongly condemning a defendant, don't you think?

How does the French judicial system work? What ideas do people have to create a more fair judicial system?

Susan, je ne peux pas très bien t'expliquer comment fonctionne le système judiciaire français car je ne le connais pas précsément. Ce que je peux te dire, c'est que la peine maximale en France est de 22 ans de prison... cela n'a rien à voir avec les peines encourues aux US. Personnellement, je trouve cela trop peu, j'ai un exemple récent à te donner : il y a deux semaines, deux hommes ont été condamnés à 22 ans de prison pour le meurtre et le viol de 4 jeunes filles. Et bien je trouve que 22 ans, ce n'est pas cher payé pour les atrocités qu'ils ont commises.

Je suis personnellement contre la peine de mort mais je trouve que l'on pourrait trouver un "juste milieu" tout de même.

Wow, it's pretty amazing that 22 years is the maximum sentence in France. I'm not sure if I support the death penalty in the U.S., but I think that some crimes definitely warrant life in prison (or at least a lot longer imprisonment than 22 years). It doesn't make sense that someone can kill as many people as he wants, and still face only 22 years maximum.... Is there any particular reason that it's 22? Or did they just pick that out of the blue? :) Also, do the prison sentences in France depend on whether the crime was premeditated? (they do in the U.S.)

Susan, je me suis un petit peu renseignée sur le système judiciaire français : ce qui distingue particulièrement le système américain du système français, c'est qu'en France, c'est à l'accusé de prouver qu'il est innocent (code Napoléon) alors qu'aux US c'est à l'accusation de prouver que l'accusé est coupable (code romain).

Pour les détails, c'est encore plus compliqué !

justice: RECTIFICATION, la peine capitale en France est la prison à perpétuité et ferme (c'est à dire sans remise de peine possible). Ce qui est très différent des 22 ans dont parlait Armelle.

Cette peine très lourde est vraiment pour les cas graves comme les viols et meutres sur personnes mineures; comme pour l'affaire Francis Heaulme ( 4 ou 5 meutres, c'est la pire affaire de ces dernières années).

Guillaume, la perpétuité n'est pas toujours accompagnée d'une peine incompressible et sache que lorsque c'est le cas, elle est de 22 ans maximum : quelqu'un peut donc être condamné à pepétuité et rester seulement 15 ans en prison. Aucun prisonnier en France ne reste en prison à vie. Le seul cas existant en France, c'est Lucien Léger, qui est en prison depuis 37 ans. Sache donc que la prison à perpétuité et ferme n'existe pas en France... elle existe bien sûr aux Etats-Unis.

Pour résumer, c'est une question de vocabulaire : lorque l'on est condamné à la prison à perpétuité, la peine est toujours assortie d'une peine de sûreté et c'est cela qui décide combien de temps on reste en prison. Enfin, si vous ne vous êtes pas encore endormis, lorsque l'on est condamné à par ex 20 ans de prison, on en fait seulement la moitié sauf s'il est précisé que la peine de sûreté est aussi de 20 ans.

Pour les 22 ans, si le condamné se conduit mal, il peut rester en prison plus longtemps bien sûr.

Ruby, je crois que le fait de ne pas se marier est aujourd'hui rentré dans les moeurs françaises.Je pense que ce choix est certainement lié au fait que le nombre de divorces ne cesse d'augmenter... Pour ce qui est du meilleur age pour se marier je pense qu'il dépend directement des études que l'on peut faire.En effet ,la plupart du temps les français attendent d'avoir une situation professionnelle établie pour penser au mariage.

To answer to a question that Geoffrey asked on the begining of the month about Religion in France :

(oops I should be writing in french here !) La Révolution francaise de 1789 s'est battue en partie contre l'eglise catholique car la haute hierarchie catholique était bien entendu Royaliste. Depuis cette époque il existe en france un fort sentiment anticlérical qui n'existe pas dans d'autres pays latins qui sont restés tres catholiques.

En france la peine maximale est bien sur la prison à vie. Avec souvent un temps "incompressible". Car les détenus sortent presque toujours de prison avant la fin de leur peine. Exemple: un terroriste peut etre condamné a perpetuité dont 20ans "incompressibles".