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Bayrou Rising

by afew Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 06:04:42 AM EST

There's a fair amount of talk, on French Internet and ET too, about how the best thing would be (again) to recognize Ségolène Royal is a dud candidate, and support François Bayrou as the last white hope of the left against Nicolas Sarkozy. I won't go too far into that aspect, except to link you to this comment by desmoulins. But another side of the question is what to make of the polls six weeks out.

Canard Enchaîné
I added up the scores of the candidates... And I got more than 100% votes! What does that mean?
Bayrou went up again!

Note by Jerome: updated with full list of earlier posts on the French elections at the end of the story.

There are more and more polls (Ipsos has moved into daily mode), and media commentary is increasingly based on them. The polls certainly show Bayrou rising (equal to Royal at 23%, according to IFOP), and the media certainly don't stop commenting on Bayrou rising. By attacking them head-on with accusations of bias, Bayrou not only succeeded in positioning himself as the plucky underdog fighting against the foregone conclusion of a Sarkozy/Royal run-off, he also made a lot of journalists and media bosses wary of under-handling him, to the point where they over-compensate. This is at least part of the way he became the "third candidate".

Another part is the endless media search for a good story to tell. Last year it was the fairy-tale of beautiful Ségolène coming from the outside to take on the establishment; then, in January, how her coach turned out to be a pumpkin after all as she went into free fall in the polls. She wasn't actually in free fall at all, and anyway the story stopped abruptly. I expected the media to make hay with Eric Besson's attacks, but they let the whole thing drop. At the time Sarkozy was concerned that Royal not be killed off too soon, which would leave him in a difficult face-off with Bayrou. Don't take it I'm saying the media are Sarkozy's puppet... But he does enjoy more media influence than probably any presidential candidate before him. If he now feels that Bayrou's run has gone far enough, and that Royal needs to be kept in play, it wouldn't be at all surprising to find the media cooling off on the story of the rise and rise of François Bayrou...

This guy afew's in denial, you say. His candidate is polling badly, so he accuses the media! The polls are there and what they say is clear, get used to it!

Well, apart from the fact that even journalists who should know better speak of "forecasts" when polls are no more than a "snapshot" of opinion at one moment, and that the error margin of 2% to 4% is never mentioned (would the narrative be as dramatic if those two faults were corrected?), what the polls say is only apparently clear. Polling is becoming a more difficult business. According to the Canard Enchaîné (07/03):

...d'autres réalités, qui multiplie les risques d'erreur: taille des échantillons en baisse, refus de répondre croissant des sondés, sous-représentation des classes populaires et, parfois, bidonnages des enquêteurs de base.

...(there are) other realities, that increase the risk of error: reduced sample size, growing refusal to reply by those polled, under-representation of the lower classes, and, sometimes, fixing by investigators.

In fact, voters at the moment in France are still unsure of their choice. A subsidiary question by IFOP (Are you certain to vote for the candidate you chose in this poll, or might you still change your mind?) gives a 52%/48% split, in other words about one in two voters have not entirely made up their minds.

Yet the percentages given for abstention/don't know are surprising: both low and varying wildly from one pollster to another. First of all, two categories, those who declare they will abstain, and those who say they don't know or will not reply, are lumped into one (Ségolène Royal said the other day that the polling institutes should be forced to present clearly the number of don't knows). Next, they are low. Abstention in the first round in French presidentials is not high, but generally in the twenties: 28% in 2002, 22% in 1995, for example. Yet only one pollster, CSA, offers numbers that might fit with that (the abstentions, without counting the don't knows); the others are all way beneath. To see the different rates offered by the six polling institutes, see this nifty presentation from Le Monde - the abstention/don't knows are profiled in white behind the candidates' curves. Roughly speaking, these are the percentages on offer:

CSA : 20%-30% (24% 7/03)

IFOP : 3%-11% (4% 11/03)

IPSOS : 10%-16% (11% 5/03)

TNS Sofres : 9%-23% (15% 5/03)

BVA : 10%-20% (10% 8/03)

LH2 : 10%-20% (15% 5/03)

OK, we can say this is not important: all that matters is what percentage of those who express an intention, go to this candidate or that. But what it unfortunately suggests is that respondents may be being pressured into giving a reply when they don't really want to; also, possibly, that shame prevents some abstainers from stating their intention openly. Add to that a certainty, that French polls always underestimate the real electorate of Jean-Marie Le Pen (shame, or perhaps malicious pleasure in camouflaging one's fuck-them-all vote, seems to lead people to keep their choice hidden when polled), and we can conclude that the polls already have a large proportion of respondents making up an answer. Does it matter? Isn't their choice of make-believe vote revealing? Perhaps. But what if it only revealed that Bayrou is a refuge (or even apparently fuck-you) candidate at the moment? What if it simply revealed the outline of the story the media is telling? Bayrou the third man, the middle way?

The media buzz influences the polls that feed the media buzz, and round and round we go? There's some evidence that the French are sensitive to that idea, or at least to the notion that the polls have a great deal of influence on political life, in an IFOP poll from last week about how polls are considered. The question:

Would you say that the polls published during electoral periods, for example a presidential campaign, have a very strong, fairly strong, fairly weak, or very weak influence on...?

(translation mine)

The last responses could be amusing, but there's a picture there of people who see themselves as wise to the game: the polls have the power to skew public debate and other citizens' votes, but I can see through all that and keep my own counsel.

There's also some evidence for Bayrou being a convenient refuge for poll respondents at the moment. IPSOS tracks a subsidiary question on the firmness of the respondent's intention to vote for the candidate they named.

Is your choice definite or could it change? Reply: definite:

No surprise to see the firmness of the hard-core Le Pen vote, but note that Sarkozy and Royal are beating the average (see above, 52%/48% split on mind made up) by as much as Bayrou is trailing it; three out of five naming Bayrou in the poll are not sure of their choice.

A great deal can change in the six weeks that remain to first-round polling day. Six weeks out in 2002 and in 1995, the opinion polls drew a picture of the race that was nothing like the final result. Le Pen was under-polled, and a "third man" (Chevènement, Balladur) was looming larger than he performed in the end. There are fairly solid historical constituencies in French politics, and polling bubbles that expand for a supposedly "new" one-man run tend to deflate as the real campaign gets under way. Bayrou has everything to prove before consolidating the speedy progress he's making in the polls. He and the current UDF don't command a large constituency, and, in my opinion,won't consolidate to the point where Bayrou will reach Round Two.

Why I don't discount Ségolène Royal is – without exaggerating the phenomenon – that her participative approach gives her a solider basis than the polls suggest. Her rallies and meetings seem to be genuinely chock-a-block. When she features in a major TV show, she gets record audience ratings. As for the polls themselves, she appears to be fairly stable in the mid-twenties, the "natural" constituency for a PS candidate not competed with by small fellow-parties like the MRC (Chevènement) and the MRG (Left Radicals, Christiane Taubira was their candidate in 2002). (Jospin + Chevènement + Taubira = 24% in 2002).

That's not to say there's no danger, of course there's danger. Rehearse again the media narrative since the year began: Ségolène is falling, falling, Bayrou is rising, rising. (Sarko too is trending down? Who notices?) To beat the effect of the MSM that are not favourable to her, Royal has a big fight on her hands. I'm not sure she always fully realizes to what extent. She can fight from the roots, that's a very good idea. I think she would also gain by appearing more "real", less glam and smiley, less stilted, in her visuals (TV, photo). The two (roots and a simpler image) happen to go together. It's not easy. An ambitious woman who is competing at the top with men needs armour-plating like a fifteenth-century knight, and it tends to restrict movement. If Royal can work her way out of that trap and go over as more simple and genuine, (something Sarko has been trying to do using voice-and-manner coaching), I think she has an excellent chance against a divided right.

Earlier diaries on French elections:
On European Tribune:
Ségolène Royal - a rising star in French politics? by whataboutbob
Sègo vs Sarko: presidential poll update by whataboutbob
Finally it is clear: 'Blairite' = critical of the moderate left by Jerome a Paris
Big Ségolène Royal interview in Le Monde by Jerome a Paris
Sarkozy feeling increasingly nervous, turns to Blair for advice (and other thoughts) by Ben P
Royal strides ahead? by afew
Jospin Pulls Out (again) by afew
Tale of Three Candidates (Poll and Update) by afew
French Socialists: live blogging by Alex in Toulouse
PS Primaries - Voting has begun by afew
Ségolène Royal chosen as Socialist candidate by Jerome a Paris
Ségolène Royal, the Middle East and French politics by Jerome a Paris
French candidates go wild on wrong problem by Migeru
Not Monsieur Hulot by afew
Press Review: An American Neo-con with a French Passport by redstar
Sarkozy loves Anglo-Saxon model, calls Blair "one of us" by Jerome a Paris
José Bové Wades Into the Fray by afew
Trendspotting: French Presidential Race. by ManFromMiddletown
11 in a row for Sarko by afew
Royal and the Roots by afew
Roots vs MSM, synthesis? by afew
Ségolène's big day - 'With me, never again will politics take place without you' by Jerome a Paris
Bayrou's Europe speech by oldfrog
Oh no the commies might be back! by Jerome a Paris
Sarkozy's unrealistic pledges by whataboutbob
The Republic of Far Far Away by afew
French election + Swedish media by someone
French elections? (Here we go...) by afew
France Islam and Fantaisy by afew
A good Frenchman by Jerome a Paris
Bayrou Rising by afew

On DailyKos
Ségolène Royal chosen as Socialist candidate for French presidential election
French elections (II) : Royal in the Middle East
French elections (III) - Royal is -gasp- a lefty

From this week-end's thread:

NordicStorm had this as well, as a "poll of polls":

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 06:16:07 AM EST
This (a different image hoster) should display NordicStorm's average of all the polls:

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 06:27:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
pleasant Graph afew ;-), who said i was dreaming :-))

Sarko will get 35% if Lepen dont get his 500 signatures (Even is Lepen asks his "voters" to avoid Sarko) and we will enjoy a nice Bayrou-Sarko, with Sarko likely president IMHO.

The stupid strategy of demonizing Sarko is Paying.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 01:08:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IF Le Pen is forced not to run;

IF Le Pen voters decide to vote Sarko all the same;

IF Bayrou is in Round Two;

IF Sarko beats Bayrou...

Lot of IFs in your supposed realism...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:08:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please enlight a foreigner.

What 500 signatures? Forced not to run?


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:11:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am as foreign as you are in this regard, but to be on the presidential ballot in France you need to acquire signatures from 500 different elected officials. Some of the smaller candidates have expressed frustration that they're having difficulties getting those 500 signatures.  Deadline to submit those signatures is this Friday, I believe.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting way of limiting the candidates. Just to get an impression of what this rule means in real terms: What (approximately) would be the number of those whose signature counts?

Does Le Pen need support of some from the UMP to get his 500? (I guess this would be what is refered to as being forced not to run.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 05:53:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People that can provide these signatures - there are about 40 000 of them ; there are many small communes in France !

Many of the small commune mayors are not publicly UMP or PS or whatever. So they don't have party pressure not to sign.

But there is the stigma of signing for Le Pen - implicitly supporting him - that many mayors don't want to go through. There have also been reports of Departmental Councils (conseil général) cutting off subsidies if the mayor signs for the wrong candidate.

In 2002 the hurdle was quite low as mayors freely gave signatures - there ended up being 16 candidates, a major reason for Jospin's failure to make it to the second round.

Le Pen can clearly get his signature without any UMP mayor signing. But he likes to play the victim - it gets him airtime. He played the same comedy in 2002.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 07:27:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard on the radio (France Inter) this morning that Le Pen has practically all his signatures. Just making out everyone wants to silence him (because he's the man who has the vital things to say!), as usual.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2007 at 02:15:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be an officially recognized candidate, you need 500 signatures from elected officials (mayors, deputies, senators - closing date 16/03). A number of candidates don't appear to have their full complement yet, including Le Pen. Though you never know with him, he likes to act the martyr's part.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:27:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LePen said last night, as reported on TF1, that he had the signatures. I didn't see this picked up in today's papers, though; could be that no one believes him.
by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 04:08:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"IF Le Pen is forced not to run;"
extremely likely

"IF Le Pen voters decide to vote Sarko all the same;"

at least 70% of them will vote Sarko and the others are unlikely to vote Sego or Bayrou

"IF Bayrou is in Round Two;"

very likely

"IF Sarko beats Bayrou..."

I do not think that Bayrou will stand very long front of Sarko in a public debate and whatever the Legislative result will show an overwhelming UMP majority (i think it is the reason why Bayrou will loose the second tour, everyone know he will not be able to govern without the UMP )

"Lot of IFs in your supposed realism..."

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:41:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should write a diary about this because you obviously have a lot of inside knowledge ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:44:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Nouvel Observateur is keeping tabs on the candidates' signatures. Le Pen claims to have a few more than 450 signatures thus far (we only have his word for it, of course). Can he get 50 more in a week?

The thing I wonder is how man FN voters are going to bother to show up on election day, if Le Pen isn't on the ballot?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 04:02:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mean to say that Sarkozy has a good debate reputation?  Talking fast and telling people what they want to hear is what a salesman does, not a President.  From what I've seen of Bayrou he speaks very naturally and in simple enough terms to be understood even by someone with limited ability to comprehend spoken French (me).  Perhaps this is very bad but it does come off as "real" in way that Sarkozy and Royal are not.
by paving on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 04:54:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Pen in fact has his 500 signatures and will hand them into the Conseil Constitutionnel this afternoon, two days ahead of deadline...

Nice try, frédougne!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 14th, 2007 at 10:34:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Laurent GUERBY suggested I add a line for other candidates, so I did:

I contemplated whether to add abstentions as well, but ultimately I opted against it. The percentages for the candidates are the percentages of the people who named a candidate, not of everyone polled, so a line for abstentions in there might be a bit misleading, given that it's not directly comparable.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 01:14:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Above all it's one of the weaknesses of averaging all the polls: they don't handle abstentions/undecideds in the same way and have very different numbers for this.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's true. Still, it'll be interesting to see what happens when the campaign kicks off for real and we get closer to election day...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:26:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the neolib commentators are happy to play the Bayrou card against the "extremist" Royal and Sarkozy:

While Ms Royal promises to drive France off the European cliff, Mr Sarkozy is doing his best to accelerate that journey.
While the French may be a little disoriented at present, they are not collectively stupid. Mr Bayrou appears to be more presidential than his opponents simply because he is a lot less extreme - both in terms of his personality and his political position. Two of the main qualities of success in a president are character and judgment. The French must be wondering about the political judgment of the candidates, their simplistic promises, their unfunded election promises and the constant opportunistic repositioning from left to right and back again.

But is lack of extremism going to be sufficient for Mr Bayrou to pull through right to the end?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 06:18:08 AM EST
Our good friends over at Redstate endorsed Sarkozy a while back. I'd recommend only reading the headline and then immediately close down the browser to avoid permanent injuries.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 06:34:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To add to Bayrou's "leftie" credentials after this endorsement from the FT's Munchau, there's the interview in Le Monde with Dominique Strauss-Kahn who says clearly there is no question of his being Bayrou's PM, and drawing a line between left and right.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 07:36:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was under the impression that Royal is very much pro-EU Constitution provided a section is added to enshrine worker and environmental rights.  How is this "driving EU off cliff?"

It is clearly the best defense of France's ability to compete economically throughout Europe and would set a good trend for the world.  In fact I believe such a clause in an approved EU Constitution would be a genuinely heroic achievement on the world scale.

by paving on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 04:50:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Nouvel Observateur also did an article on polls a few weeks ago (can't seem to locate it now, dangit). They raised some of the same concerns about undecideds, and also noted the total percentage for the left-wing candidates were a bit on the low side (36% or so, was it?).

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 06:27:18 AM EST
Excellent exploration and commentary on the polls. It looks to be a horse-race in the next six weeks, then...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 06:35:58 AM EST
A poll about the influence of the polls on polling...?

[head explodes]

Statistically, that's surely pointless, because subjective responses most likely have no relationship to actual voting decisions.

Although I suppose they may tell you something about people's conscious beliefs about their own media savvy.

(Is that a useful thing? I'm not sure that it is.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 06:40:28 AM EST
The poll was in fact a fuller survey re market research, and included some questions on political polling.

I thought it was telling that the reponses were so clear-cut: the polls feed into a media game that fools everybody... but me.

I quoted it in my argument above because it tends to back up what I'm saying about respondents being more and more reluctant and cagy - or downright making up responses. The primary (or sincere, or naïve) nature of responses can no longer be counted on at all.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 07:21:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to believe that since a few years ago, as an answer to the polls harassment, citizens/respondents are more and more playing with the polls. In fact, were I to be polled, I'll probably do so.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 07:54:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've just read that Ségolène Royal actually said this recently - people play with the polls.

See this in Le Monde.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 08:26:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In that case, she means strategic playing (in order to influence her agenda). It might be true, but what I meant was more playing for the fun of fooling the pollsters...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 12:19:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To argue anything but "the polls are wrong" in light of the past two Presidential elections is absurd.  Of course they polls are wrong.  They could easily be off by as much as 10-15% per candidate.
by paving on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 04:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]

If I understand you, you make the claim that Sarkozy has a chummy relationship with much of the press. I can see that with some right elements of the press, but I would not expect it with other elements of the press.

Or are you arguing that the media's need to keep the horserace going will force them to bring Royal back into the race...not for any other purpose than to satisfy the media's need to keep the public intrigued?

Or am I misreading this?

Otherwise, a very interesting discussion. Thanks.

by gradinski chai on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 07:22:55 AM EST
I'm saying that Sarkozy has networks of influence in the mainstream media that he has built over the years - by personal friendship with big media bosses like Martin Bouygues (TF1) and Arnaud Lagardère (world's N° 1 magazine publisher), and by influence as a top government figure over public broadcasting.

I've discussed this in diaries (see links Jérôme has usefully added above), especially:

11 in a row for Sarko
Roots vs MSM, synthesis?
The Republic of Far Far Away

As for the leftwing or centrist press, it has been under more and more pressure from big money. See:

Le Monde, Journal of Record

and a series on Libération (link goes to third part which contains links to first two parts).

To sum up: Sarko can personally pull a lot of levers in the MSM. What remains of a leftwing (or simply neutral) press is small and shaky.

So when the media tell stories, they tend to serve Sarkozy, or at least not to hurt Sarkozy. And I did find the change in storyline intriguing three weeks ago, when the media stopped running with the "Ségolène is falling out of the sky" narrative. The Canard Enchaîné at the time reported that the Sarko campaign were worried she might really disappear.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 08:22:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A must read (in French):
Philippe Cohen interview

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 09:21:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To go with this, the Arrêt sur images of a few weeks back, about Sarkozy and the journalists.

I see that the Arrêt sur images I missed yesterday was about the polls and how reliable they are. Seems to be occurring to rather a lot of people.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 11:15:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Avant, on communiquait pour expliquer son action. Pour Sarkozy, la communication devient l'action politique, totalement détachée du réel.

Is this type of politics new? Clearly its the same thing for bush, but to me it is just a modern expression of traditional politics, maybe at the extreme.

by citizen k (sansracine yahoo.fr) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 10:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On tonight's BBC news, they mentioned that Sarko was slipping in the polls, so that the margin of error gave a tie between Sark and Sego.

They also mentioned that the press is afraid of Sarko's mean attitude, and expect to get the short end of a stick if he were to be elected, for saying things against him (like bringing up the land scandal.)

For a quick piece, it was a surprisingly 'balanced', if not even informative view of the many sides of Sarkozy.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 01:48:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should have made clear, it was the BBC radio news of Europe.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 01:49:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading this I have trouble seeing the outcomes. So a question to the more french among us would be what are the likely run-off scenarios?

If the candidates that has a chance at making it to run-off are Sarkozy, Royal, Bayrou and Le Pen then these are the possible run-offs:

Sarkozy vs. Royal?
Sarkozy vs. Bayrou?
Bayrou vs. Royal?
Sarkozy vs. Le Pen?
Royal vs. Le Pen?
Bayrou vs. Le Pen?

So which are likely?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 09:31:49 AM EST
Sarkozy vs. Royal - still the most likely. Very open.

All others are equally (not very) likely, in my mind, except Le Pen-Bayrou. In order of decreasing likelihood:

Bayrou vs. Royal.  Bayrou wins with the right.
Royal vs. Le Pen. Royal wins 60-40.
Sarkozy vs. Le Pen. Sarkozy wins with low participation
Sarkozy vs. Bayrou - Bayrou wins with the left.

Bayrou vs. Le Pen. Nah.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 10:07:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i dont get why you are talking of Lepen-Bayrou, Lepen is stable and furthermore, is likely not having enough signatures (and that will give a 5-7% boost to Sarko).

did i miss something ?

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 01:13:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You think that in a Royal vs. Le Pen second round Royal would only get sixty percent? If you're right that's pretty depressing.
by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 02:34:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be. I'd expect abstention/null votes from a lot of UMP supporters, rather than direct votes for Le Pen. I wouldn't count on them to play the republican game as the left did for Chirac. Whether it would be 60-40 though, I don't know.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:19:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the assumption is that centre-right voters would stay at home, unlike the Socialists in 2002.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 03:26:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have never understood why French polls are reported as if there was no undecided -- they simply set undecideds aside and report the responses those who did express a preference. Which vastly reduces the actual sample size, thereby increasing the margin of error. So when they claim a MOE of +_3.5 its actually not the case. (And in any event, there is almost never an MOE reported, so that a change of 1 percent, well within a given poll's MOE, is reported as a change of opinion.)

That said, there's a clear trend showing Bayrou gaining at Royal's expense and Sarkozy holding a lead, even if he's also losing some support to Bayrou.

I think a lot of the undecided vote is going to go to Sarko, in part because as afew points out, he seems to be getting very favorable coverage (what happened to the story about his townhouse in Neuilly?) -- and because his presence in tv, in print and on the radio is simply better organized than Royal. (See tomorrow's Libe, online now, which polled people about who was running the best campaign, and 50% said Royal is running a "bad" campaign, more than 3x the % which said that about Bayrou or Sarkozy.)

I'm not disputing this is due in part to an established media narrative of campaign "turbulence," but its something she's got to break out if she's going to have any chance.

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 04:26:17 PM EST

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