July 26, 2021

polls misleadingly presented by the RN on social networks

The National Rally (RN) is very active on social networks, a few days before the regional and departmental elections of June 20 and 27. In multiple visuals, the party’s staff presents polls of intention to vote from an angle which the advantage, even if it means taking liberties with the rigor, even with the veracity of the figures.

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1- Present results based on a highly improbable quadrangular scenario

“At the gates of victory! Now tied with @XavierBertrand, we’re almost there! “, rejoiced Sébastien Chenu, head of the RN list in Hauts-de-France, after the publication of an IFOP survey for LCI and Le Figaro.

Except that this hypothetical face-to-face, which gives 35% of the voting intentions to Sébastien Chenu (i.e. as much as to Xavier Bertrand, the candidate of the right and also outgoing president of the region), only corresponds to unlikely scenario of a quadrangular in the second round of regional elections. A hypothesis that would only come true if the candidate of La République en Marche (LRM), Laurent Pietraszewski, refused to withdraw to block the RN. However, this scenario seems to have been ruled out by Stanislas Guerini, the boss of the presidential majority, at the microphone of Europe 1.

In the more likely case of a triangular, Xavier Bertrand would win largely on June 27, according to the same poll. He would obtain 43% of the vote, against 35% for Sébastien Chenu and 22% for Karima Delli (Europe Ecology-The Greens and allies).

2- Mix the voting intentions of the first round with the second

Between the two rounds of a regional election, some lists are eliminated, while others give up on their own. As a result, significant carryovers from one Sunday to the next change the balance of power. Hence the importance of specifying whether the voting intentions in the polls correspond to the first or the second round. A crucial indication, omitted on a campaign poster posted on Twitter by the RN.

Visual of the National Rally for the 2021 regional elections.

The poster exposes the voting intentions in favor of the head of the RN list in twelve regions, without ever mentioning which round of the ballot it is. The mentions “at the head” or “winner” above the photo of the candidates do not allow to know. For Gilles Pennelle, in Brittany, but also for Jean-Paul Garraud, in Occitanie, the mention “in the lead” concerns their supposed position in the first round, according to the polls.

On the other hand, the score of 52% attributed to Thierry Mariani in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur does not mean that he would be elected in the first round, but corresponds to a poll which gives him the winner against Renaud Muselier (LR), for the case – still uncertain – where the ecologist Jean-Laurent Félizia would withdraw in the second round.

The confusion was fueled by a leaflet, since taken from Twitter.

3- Draw curves without scale between the values

As a general rule, you should be wary of visuals that contain graphical representations that are devoid of scale. To illustrate the progress of the heads of the lists Jordan Bardella (in Ile-de-France) and Edwige Diaz (in New Aquitaine), the RN uses a steeply sloping arrow, supposed to illustrate the progression of their lists in the polls.

The progression is respectively 6 and 9 points for Jordan Bardella and Edwige Diaz over a period which remains unknown, then the curve seems to become exponential, without reality with the mathematical progression of the voting intentions concerning these candidates.

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