PARIS: When even their president is being caught sneaking around behind his partner’s back, it is perhaps unsurprising to find the French topping a poll for infidelity, alongside the equally hot-blooded Italians.
More than one in two men – 55 percent – from France and Italy admitted to cheating on their partners, along with one in three women.
The poll by Ifop, released Wednesday, comes just a few weeks after “le scandale” in France, when President Francois Hollande was snapped leaving the home of actress Julie Gayet.
The photos led to the collapse of his relationship with longtime partner Valerie Trierweiler and a torrent of worldwide comment about French attitudes to fidelity.
The pollsters suggested a link between affairs and religion, saying there was less evidence of cheating in “majority Protestant” countries.
Only 42 percent of Britons and 46 percent in Germany admitted to having had an affair.
“After all the noise about ‘L’Affaire Gayet,’ and all the articles in the international press about the fickle nature of the French, this seems to confirm the clichés about Latin males,” Ifop director Francois Kraus told AFP.
Hollande and Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi, who was last year convicted of paying for sex with an underage prostitute at one of his infamous “bunga bunga parties,” are “ultimately quite representative of their respective nations,” Kraus said.
Infidelity is most evenly distributed between the sexes in Germany, where 43 percent of women admit to having had an affair. That compares with 34 percent in Italy, 32 percent in France and 29 percent in Britain.
The more disciplined couples of northern Europe are not complete angels, though.
Some 53 percent of Germans and 50 percent of Brits have exchanged an illicit kiss, compared with 46 percent in France, Italy and Belgium.
But it is the French that remain the most casual about flings, with 35 percent saying they may cheat in the future, against 31 percent of Germans and Spaniards, 28 percent of Italians, and a quarter of Brits.
A total of 4,800 people aged 18 and over were quizzed for the poll across six Western Europe countries.