Article de presse ou magazine
How Marine Le Pen could win the French presidential election even if she polls lower than 50%
The Conversation
Never before in modern history has a French presidential election been punctuated by so many unforeseen events of all kinds, judicial and electoral. It ended up on the April 23 first-round vote with a four-way split, ranking centrist Emmanuel Macron first with 24.01%, followed by Marine Le Pen of the Front National (FN) on 21.30%. François Fillon of Les Républicains was on 20.01% and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the far left on 19.58%. Macron and Le Pen are therefore heading for a second round run-off on May 7. First polls gave a ratio around 60/40 in favour of Macron. As in recent campaigns in democratic countries, the French public has been deluged with polls of various kinds. Each shift in voters’ stated intentions is passed under the microscope and commented upon. While the very reliability of polls has been questioned given the unexpected victories of the Brexit vote in the UK and Trump in the US, pollsters regained legitimacy with their rather precise predictions of the first round result. The central question is how predictable the final outcome can be based on an extrapolation of the polls. However, if using probabilities can capture the appreciation of what may happen, in the case of a single event – a presidential election, say – the notion of probability doesn’t actually say anything about what is really going to happen. (First paragraphs)