Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Le Parisien Won't Poll During Campaign

Le Parisien has decided not to commission or publish any polls during the 2017 presidential campaign. The paper says it has begun a period of "introspection" in the wake of what it sees as polling failures prior to the Brexit and US elections. This choice is "an experiment," intended, according to the paper's editor, to allow journalists to "breathe the air of the moment," "go into the field," "detect weak signals," and "uncover blind spots." The tens of thousands of euros saved on polling will presumably be used to send more reporters out into the provinces.


James Conran said...

There is undoubtedly a strong case to be made that the media should generally spend less time predicting election outcomes and more time informing voters about the policies of the candidates, among other worthy endeavors. But to a far greater degree than in the US election (or the Brexit referendum), it seems to me that prediction is an important democratic service to French voters. Tactical voting in the first round is just as valid and important as in a US election, but it's a lot harder for, say, a left-wing French voter to decide whether Macron, the PS candidate or even Melenchon is the best placed to avoid a Fillon v Le Pen 2nd round than it was for Americans to work out that Hillary was better placed than Jill Stein.

Of course you might argue that no prediction is better than a misleading one. Perhaps, but it's far from clear that "no prediction" is what will replace polls in voters' minds. Instead conventional wisdom may fill the vacuum - let's not forget that only the polls saw Trump coming in the Republican primary. And frankly if there had been no polls I think a lot of people (myself included) would have expected a far larger victory for HRC than that predicted by the polls.

FrédéricLN said...

Good move.

In 2007, Le Parisien had published the only poll (by survey institute CSA) giving Bayrou almost ex aequo with Sarkozy and Royal at 24% http://www.lecentrisme.com/2007/03/actualites-du-centre-presidentielles_8.html, and the following week, the first poll giving Bayrou down http://www.lecentrisme.com/2007/03/actualites-du-centre-presidentielles_37.html … Making two big headlines in two weeks. The polls regulation body did criticize the results as "erreur manifeste". http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2007/03/20/la-commission-des-sondages-denonce-une-erreur-manifeste-dans-deux-enquetes-csa_885693_3224.html