Saturday, May 6, 2017

Can Le Pen Win? Yes. Will She Win? No.

On the eve of the French presidential election, an average of polls puts Emmanuel Macron ahead of Marine Le Pen, 61% to 39%. That's a massive gap.

To give some perspective, in Donald Trump's "upset" win in November, he beat the polls by only 2% in the popular vote. Le Pen will have to beat them by ten times that.

Nothing like that has ever happened in modern French politics. In the last eight presidential elections, the average polling error has been 4%, and the most the polls have ever been off was 8.4%. That was in 2002, when Jacques Chirac beat Marine's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, 82% to 18%, a victory margin substantially larger then the polls had predicted.

An interesting article at FiveThirtyEight, points out that errors of 20% or more do happen occasionally. When Bernie Sanders upset Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Democratic Primary, he beat the polls by 22%. Interestingly, that's exactly what Le Pen needs to do.

But such examples are extremely rare.

To do that, Le Pen will need a much higher number than predicted of deliberate abstentions - people who did not vote for Le Pen in the first round but refuse to cast a vote for Macron - along with getting an almost unheard of proportion of undecided voters to go her way and/or people doing the opposite of what they told pollsters. That this didn't happen in the first round - if anything, Le Pen slightly underperformed polls and expectations - does not bode well for Le Pen.

By almost all accounts, Le Pen did badly in the final debate, looking weirdly smug against a personable Macron. A last minute "dump" of hacked emails from the Macron campaign, allegedly containing all sorts of negative information - some of which the Macron campaign has declared to be falsified - came too late to matter, and may have even stirred up sympathy for Macron. It's essentially been embargoed by the French media, in any case. And, as of this writing, France is entering a twenty-four hour period in which all discussion and reporting on the election is prohibited by law.

Curiously, the prediction markets still give Le Pen a 15% or so chance of winning, a probability much higher than what her low standing in the polls should justify. The markets seem to know something that we don't, but what that is is unclear. It translates into Le Pen having an outside chance, not no chance but an outside chance - a chance equivalent to rolling a one on a six-sided die.

One in six.

Stranger things have happened.

But usually they don't.


  1. Actually, Chirac thumped Jean-Marie Le Pen by much more than that in 2002 - 82.2% to 17.8%.

    Marine will not win, but she should be able to easily double that. For whatever little consolation that might provide.

    1. Yikes. That's what I had thought before I read the FiveThirtyEight piece. But I was looking at the margin, instead of Chirac's percentage. Thanks! Corrected. And there goes a paragraph or two.

  2. Alas, the Church's "eldest daughter" probably remains a harlot (for now). Our Lady of Lourdes and Sts Bernadette, Joan of Arc, Mary Magdelene, Louis de Montfort, Terese the Little Flower, King Louie, and all French saints, pray for France on the eve of the election!

  3. Amen Sandpiper, we pray for France, to regain her faith and reclaim her greatness.

    Donald Trump's win was guided by providence. Americans prayed, good Americans, the backbone of America, Americans, and God had pity on us and allowed Donald Trump to do the impossible, and win. Right under the noses of the tyrannical globalists. Uniquely capable and qualified, his singular stamina and moxie allowed him to take on incredible attacks and treatment. He is still sustained by God, thankfully. All thanks be to God.

    If God has allowed that France will not be destroyed from within, eaten like a cancer, Marine le Pen will win. If she does not, in my humble opinion, France will suffer much.
    God, in your infinite mercy, please awaken the hearts and minds of your children in France, so they may make the right choice.

  4. Oh dear. France has voted for it's own demise. Sad day for France. My heart goes out to all the Le Pen voters.
    Socialism, liberalism, atheism, these are religion to many people, and they are always zealots. What else can you call it when virtue signaling over "tolerance" is more important than life.

  5. Communists and 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation
    Immigrants elected Macaroni and his wife Mary Kay LeTourneau.

  6. Oops forgot to sign my post--Seattle kim