Fri Feb 9th, 2007 at 05:52:37 AM EST
Bringing together what I wrote about Nicolas Sarkozy's control of the media (11 in a row for Sarko) and yesterday's piece about the grass-and-netroots campaign run by Ségolène Royal (Royal and the Roots), along with comment in the threads, this morning Libération publishes a poll by LH2 that hits a spot we're concerned about: public perception of the two campaigns. The results highlight the (in my opinion, at least) dangerous position Royal is now in.
|Erreur interdite. Alors que Ségolène Royal doit présenter son projet présidentiel dimanche, à Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis), l'attente de l'opinion est telle que le moindre faux pas pourrait être payé cash. <...> Les personnes interrogées se montrent fort dubitatives quant à la méthode choisie jusque-là par la candidate socialiste : 37 % préfèrent la façon dont Nicolas Sarkozy mène campagne contre 28 % pour Ségolène Royal. Et la candidate fédère difficilement son camp, puisque seuls 58 % des sympathisants socialistes assument leur préférence pour la méthode Royal.||
||No mistakes allowed. As Ségolène Royal gets ready to bring out her presidential project on Sunday in Villepinte, (Seine-Saint-Denis), the expectations of public opinion are such that the slightest slip-up could bear an immediate cost. <...> Respondents to our poll prove to be extremely dubious about the method chosen up to now by the Socialist candidate: 37% prefer Nicolas Sarkozy's way of campaigning to 28% for Ségolène Royal's. And the latter is hardly backed by her own side, since only 58% of Socialist sympathisers state their preference for the Royal method.|
At first sight, one could scream that, obviously, since public opinion today is made by the MSM, and the MSM have not covered Royal's roots campaign, while Sarkozy's classic media-based campaign has been given added visibility by his influential position (both in government and as a friend of media moguls), it's not freaking surprising people are uncertain about her campaign: they haven't seen it happening. So aaarggh scream yell gah kick spit. Then notice that the "Royal method" doesn't seem hugely convincing to Socialist sympathisers -- those whom one would expect to know more than the MSM is saying about the "participative democracy" debates and the Internet campaign.
|62 % des Français, et même 68 % des ouvriers et employés, considèrent que ces débats vont «faire émerger de bonnes idées». Mais ils sont presque aussi nombreux (respectivement 60 % et 66 %) à pronostiquer que ces débats risquent de générer «beaucoup de déception». Un semblant de renoncement. Comme si l'espoir que Ségolène Royal a fait naître parmi les Français, et d'abord parmi les catégories défavorisées, était déjà condamné à être déçu.||62% of the French, and even 68% of blue-collar and lower-ranking white-collar workers, think these debates will "bring out good ideas". But almost as many of them (respectively 60% and 66%) predict these debates risk producing "a lot of disappointment". Looks like giving up. As if the hopes Ségolène Royal awakened among the French, and primarily among underprivileged groups, were already certain to be dashed.|
Libé goes on to list points it says (from the evidence of the poll) the underprivileged want to see handled by Royal -- in a "concrete" fashion, meaning detailed promises she will keep. Unemployment, purchasing power, retirement pensions, social justice, are in the lead. We're on traditional ground for the left, that the left's electorate feels have not been taken seriously in the past. The problem is that anyone can come hunting on these grounds, and does.
|Mais ce terrain social censé être étiqueté de gauche pourrait s'avérer piégé. François Miquet-Marty, directeur des études politiques de LH2, note que «Ségolène Royal doit répondre à une exigence sociale d'autant plus décisive que Lionel Jospin n'y avait qu'imparfaitement répondu en 2002, et d'autant plus complexe que l'extrême gauche, Nicolas Sarkozy et Jean-Marie Le Pen se positionnent eux-mêmes sur cette question».||But this social ground supposedly labelled "for the left" could turn out to be mined. François Miquet-Marty, LH2's political surveys director, points out that "Ségolène Royal has to respond to a social demand all the more decisive in that Lionel Jospin gave it an incomplete response in 2002, and all the more complex in that the extreme left, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jean-Marie Le Pen have taken up their own positions on these questions."|
Essentially, Libé is piling on the pressure for SR to turn up the volume on the left-wing speaker of the stereo. No doubt the subjects coming up through the debates in meetings and on the Web, combined with the need to unite the Socialist Party and the traditional left electorate behind her, will mean that, on Sunday, Libé's wishes will be fulfilled.
But a broader question remains, one that was put in the comment threads here: the roots campaign is just great, but what happens if the MSM are against you? What hope of victory is there? Royal's campaign to date seems (to me at least) to have been lacking in the kind of standard media organisation campaigns usually have, while she probably (again, imo) would need double in present circumstances. That now puts her pretty much up against the wall: a huge amount hinges on Sunday's meeting. Unfortunately, the media will be more responsible for determining perception of the results of that meeting, than she herself will be.
What would you do? How can we alter very broad perceptions that, in our societies, are created and managed by the punditry and the foot-soldier journalists through mass outlets, especially TV?