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The greatness and misery of polls

The greatness and misery of polls

There are some lessons to be learned from the French presidential election.

Especially about the role of polls. Many wonder how far opinion polls, which are essential in a democracy, can turn against it.

Let me explain: In the final weeks of the first round, the polling torrent created a useful voting clause that prompts voters to vote no longer for their favorite candidate, but for whoever has the best chance of blocking the candidate they fear.


On the left, voters turned to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who often disavows a radical, hoping to make it to the second round.

In a so-called national right, voters turned to Marine Le Pen to prevent Jean-Luc Mélenchon from going to the second round.

In other words, voters vote on projects less than they vote on opinion polls, which describe electoral behavior less than it produces and directs.

Likewise, they often build public opinion by claiming to be their own. For example, they will explain that social and economic issues (health, education, purchasing power, etc.) crush all other problems.

But they forget that when it’s time to vote, the issues that drive voters to the polls are not of the same nature. Other variables are necessary.


The example of PLQ in Quebec shows this. If this party, despite its programmatic efforts and historical governmental credibility, is doomed to the margins at this time, it is because it is separated from French-speaking Quebec. He no longer has an identity link with him.

Conversely, if François Legault retained such a strong bond with French-speaking Quebecers, it was because he passed Bill 21, giving them a boost of pride, as well as expelling liberals whom they described as intolerant.

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I take a lesson from this: polls are essential, but they can sometimes make us lazy, obscuring the truth they claim to illuminate.