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French Election: Analysis of Polling Data and Shaping Predictions

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Since elections are at the heart of modern democracy, polling companies are interested in predicting the results to determine the future political climate. The polls are not flawless, no matter how well they are conducted, there will always be uncertainty. This essay about election will analyse the polling data from French presidential race and factors that are taken into an account when making the predictions. Firstly, it will discuss why is it difficult to conduct accurate polls and how they impact voter turnout. Secondly, the paper will assess Macron’s presidency and Marine Le Pen’s changed image since the previous election. Thirdly, it will analyse the electorate of both candidates and their main characteristics. Lastly, it will examine POLITICO’s Poll of Polls in the run-up to the election and the impact of Russia and Ukraine conflict.

The accuracy of the polls depends on how representative the sample of people answering the poll is in relation to the electorate in terms of age, gender, education and social class. Some people would make up their minds last minute or hide their voting intentions, if they were supporting a controversial figure. It is suggested that some people like to vote for winners; therefore, polling organisations might exploit that to further their own, politically charged, agendas. Evidence suggests that voter perception of an election’s closeness may affect turnout, because people may feel like the prediction is a forgone conclusion. It may marginalise candidates who have less support by suggesting that they have already lost and the vote would be wasted. Otherwise, if voters think the election is tight, the turnout may surge and flip the expected result.

Former economy minister Emmanuel Macron became the youngest president in France’s history in 2017, defeating National Front leader Marine Le Pen and reaching 66.1 percent support to her 33.9 percent. Macron encountered challenges during his presidency, when the chaos of massive pension reform strikes and the Yellow Vest crisis over rising fuel taxes hit in the late 2018. Then the Covid-19 pandemic had started, and Macron has vowed to protect the French economy from pandemic’s damage. Some election predictions focus on economic variables and analyse how strong the incumbent’s position is based on the economy, social climate, and foreign and military affairs. They would also consider how charismatic the current president is and how he compares to his opponents; also, if he has been involved in any major scandals during his presidency that may affect his popularity. Fundamentals based projections tend to be quite accurate, when determining support for the incumbent president.

Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader, was projected to join Macron in the second round just like in the 2017 election. Marine Le Pen focused her campaign on immigration and security and has cleverly exploited the cost-of-living issue. She sought to soften her party’s image and abandoned the idea of taking France out of the European Union, Schengen Area and eurozone. It has helped to create a more moderate image for her compared to Ric Zemmour. Her strategy to bring her party to the political mainstream has been largely successful earning her 12 million votes, about 5 million more than in the previous election.

Macron did better in more densely populated areas and got over 70 percent in Paris, while Le Pen got better results in rural communities. Marine Le Pen’s electorate is economically disadvantaged, not just by low incomes, but also in terms of education, with mostly young working people. One of the disadvantages Le Pen had was that her support was concentrated in the “low turnout” parts of the electorate: the young, the less educated and less well-off. Le Pen failed to mobilise her voters in parliamentary, European, municipal and regional elections, since parts of her base never left home to vote. Macron’s vote was concentrated in the parts of the population which vote the most the older age groups backed him in large numbers. Nevertheless, Macron has struggled to appeal to younger voters on their key concerns, such as climate change and social inequality. Macron has a narrow majority of high-educated people, but they are balanced by a majority of poorly educated people, who do not have a high-school diploma.

It was forecasted that this election’s race will be tighter than their 2017 run-off, which proved to be correct. Le Pen and Ric Zemmour have shared 32 percent support for eight months; in the last four weeks, Le Pen has risen to 20-22 percent and Zemmour has fallen to 10 percent or below. For eight months or more, the president polled steadily at 23-24 percent. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Macron’s popularity climbed by 7 points in first round polls and made it seem like his victory was certain. He zoomed up to 30 percent in POLITICO’s Poll of Polls, then later fallen back to 27-28 percent” still well ahead of his pre-Ukraine levels and comfortably ahead of Le Pen. The polls for the second round were predicting 56 percent support for Macron against 44 percent for Le Pen, which turned out to be quite accurate, but with a slight error, as Macron managed to score 58.5 percent, while Le Pen got 41.5 percent.

In conclusion, due to the nature of opinion polling, it will never be 100 percent accurate and there will be a margin of error. Predictions are not only based on the opinions of the electorate but are often based on economic and social variables, that can play an important role in determining whether the incumbent will retain his support. Macron’s victory might have seemed decisive, but his rival had won more votes than any far-right candidate in the history of France. Macron did well in cities, while Le Pen drew support from more rural areas and economically disadvantaged communities. Although Macron has faced serious challenges during his presidency, the invasion of Ukraine has enhanced his image as a diplomatic leader than can negotiate with both Russia and Ukraine, helping him to secure victory.

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French Election: Analysis of Polling Data and Shaping Predictions. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/french-election-analysis-of-polling-data-and-shaping-predictions/
“French Election: Analysis of Polling Data and Shaping Predictions.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/french-election-analysis-of-polling-data-and-shaping-predictions/
French Election: Analysis of Polling Data and Shaping Predictions. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/french-election-analysis-of-polling-data-and-shaping-predictions/> [Accessed 21 Mar. 2023].
French Election: Analysis of Polling Data and Shaping Predictions [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Feb 11 [cited 2023 Mar 21]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/french-election-analysis-of-polling-data-and-shaping-predictions/
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