“In short, the French presidential election is a mess”

Harry Enten (and not Nate Silver as reported by Le Monde) published yesterday a post on Five-Thirty-Eight about the unpredictability of the French elections. Which essentially states the obvious, namely that the four major candidates all stand a chance to make it to the runoff. (The post classifies Macron as a former left-wing socialist, which shows a glaring misunderstanding of the candidate or a massive divergence of what left-wing means between France and the USA.) The tribune states both that the polls could exhibit a bigger mistake than in the previous elections and that Le Pen score is unlikely to be underestimated, because voters are no longer shy to acknowledge they vote for a fascist candidate. One argument for the error in the polls is attributed to pollsters “herding” their results, i.e., shrinking the raw figures towards the global average taken over previous polls. A [rather reasonable] correction dismissed by Le Monde and French pollsters. While Enten argues that the variability of the percentages over fifty polls is too small to be plausible, assuming a Normal distribution that may not hold because French pollsters use quotas to build their polling population. In any case, this analysis, while cautious and reasonably so!, does not elaborate on the largest question mark, the elephant in the room, namely the percentage of abstentions today and their distribution among the political spectrum, which may eventually make the difference tonight. Indeed, “the bottom line is that we don’t know what’s going to happen on Sunday.” And it is definitely frightening!

4 Responses to ““In short, the French presidential election is a mess””

  1. “former left-wing socialist” is written in the article as “former left-wing Socialist” which I simply took to mean that he was formerly in the Socialist Party which is considered left-wing. Is there anything wrong with that?

    • This is a minor quibble, truly, but Macron was never in the Socialist Party and cannot be reasonably seen as a left-winger. Which is why I am still worried about the run-off against Le Pen, since Macron will not necessarily get a massive vote report from Mélanchon’s voters….

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