Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Was the IFOP Poll Truqué?

Two accusations, here and here. You can tell the campaign is now in full swing: the charges are flying high and low. (h/t FrédéricLN)

To Cross or Not To Cross

As one might have predicted, another poll is out, this one from TNS-Sofres, and in this one the famous "crossing of the curves" does not occur. Hollande is still ahead by 4 in the first round. So, you pays your money and you takes your chances, as they say.

I will be on France24 evening news in 10 minutes to discuss all this, but for a very lucid overview, see Arun Kapil.

The Poll Comparator

If you use the poll comparator, the story of recent polling is fairly clear: Hollande is losing ground to Mélenchon, while Sarkozy is gaining against Le Pen.

Buisson's Analysis

Patrick Buisson lays it on the line: Sarkozy's victory depends on capturing the Front National's votes after eliminating Marine Le Pen in the first round. He says--and he may be right--that the predictions of a resounding victory for Hollande in round 2 depend on the abstention of a large number of FN voters, who would presumably have to conclude that they hate Sarkozy more than they fear Hollande.

Hence Sarkozy's strategy, according to his chief strategist--himself a product of the extreme right--is to do whatever it takes to persuade FN voters that this time he means it, the last five years don't count, and if re-elected he will realize their fantasies of an étranger-rein Europe in which France dominates Germany, capital is meekly subservient to the wishes of the French president, public swimming pools are republicanly gender-blind, and school cafeterias are safe for wine and sausages. Buisson's view of policy as an extension of the political struggle is cold-blooded, ruthless, and quite possibly well-calculated. His political arithmetic is as precise as Karl Rove's, and the knives he proposes to use for slicing and paring this or that tranche of voters away from the opposition have been honed over many years of labor in the back-kitchens of politics.

What is of course missing entirely from his discourse is any positive vision of France's economic or geopolitical future. That doesn't mean he doesn't have one, but such luxuries are for after power is seized. Until then, the focus must be single-minded on those hatreds, prejudices, fears, and fantasies that can be tapped to win a dozen votes here and a score of votes there for reaction's chosen tool. Buisson represents everything that is most hateful in our politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sarkozy Wins But Still Loses

A new IFOP poll has Sarkozy barely edging out Hollande in the first round (28.5 to 27) but still losing badly, 54,5 to 45.5 in the second round. Bayrou's voters go heavily to Hollande, and Sarkozy doesn't get enough of Le Pen's votes to make up the difference. One-third of Le Pen's voters dislike him so much that they will abstain in round 2 rather than vote for the left.

Still, this first post-Villepinte poll shows that the president still has some fight left, and this should galvanize the troops. It may also galvanize the opposition, which had been falling into a certain complacency about the outcome. Hollande must now step up his game or risk further slippage.

Le Pen Has Her Parrainages

Marine Le Pen has collected the necessary 500 signatures and will therefore be on the ballot. Bad news for Sarkozy, good news for democracy.