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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Latest Polls, Viewed by Alain Duhamel
Television journalist and writer Alain Duhamel (not the most trustworthy of sources, though here he is forced to allow for unknown factors), gives us the latest findings of the polls. The interview with Duhamel comes from RTL, dated April 18, 2012. I have had to condense it:
RTL: The CSA Institute gives 29% to François Hollande and 25% to Nicolas Sarkozy. The BVA poll for RTL makes it tighter: 29.5% vs 27.5%. What does this mean?
Duhamel: First, five polls have come out in the last 24 hours. The most recent are those you cite. In my opinion we can draw from them three points:
- The first is that in all the polls without exception, Hollande and Sarkozy are clearly ahead compared to the others. And therefore, unless the pollsters are all wrong, they are the two most likely by far to reach the second round.
- Second, the general trend is favorable to François Hollande, even if the results vary from one poll to another.
- Third, we must be very cautious because of the unknown factor of abstentions. According to the polls, between 20% and 32% will abstain. It is not negligible.
Then, there are the undecided voters. More than 20% as we speak.
We know that in the past 48 hours about a quarter of the voters made their decision. That most of these figures are situated within the statistical margin of error. That between the last wave of polling, on the one hand, and the results on the evening of the first round, there is often a movement of three or four points, not in general, but in favor of or to the detriment of one or the other of the candidates.
RTL: Hence, we must be prudent, if we understand you, Alain. Still, how do you explain this apparent up-turn for Nicolas Sarkozy?
Duhamel: Listen, he got a boost after the killings in Toulouse and Montauban and he became once again presidential. Immediately after the killings he regained his stature as an aggressive challenger. So, it's an aggressive change, a change in attitude.
Second, we have the impression that he is preparing both the first and second rounds. In the first round he will try to win over a good many of the Front National's voters. In the second round he will have around him a whole slew of lieutenants who will be courting François Bayrou. Whether it's one or the other, or both, it's difficult.
Note: He seems to be saying that in the second round, Sarkozy will try to win over Bayrou's voters. We can assume that Hollande would try to win over Mélenchon's voters. But does it really matter that much for France if the second round does not include Marine Le Pen?
Also: Did Sarkozy really gain points after the killings? Even if he did, didn't Marine Le Pen gain more?
RTL: There is also uncertainty regarding the third place.
Duhamel: For third place it's exactly the same uncertainty for the same reasons as for first and second place, with one additional factor that complicates things, and that makes us look at all of this critically, and with "resolute uncertainty", and it is the same for Marine Le Pen as for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and this is that we do not know for sure how the pollsters fix the figures and therefore it is possible that there is underestimation in one case and over-estimation in the other.