Presidential 2022: polls or big data?

Patrick Batard / ABACAPRESS.COM

By Denys Malengreau, digital identity planner

Grandstand. In 2017, 36 million French people were on social networks. Today, they would be some 53 million. That is at least 10 to 15 million more French people in 5 years. If social networks were able to play a role of influence, among other things, during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, what about today?

The candidates for this atypical French presidential election of 2022 have understood the strategic challenge of digital positioning. Éric Zemmour’s teams have thus spent on Facebook more than twice in advertising (€36,957) than that of Marine Le Pen (€15,203).

Eric Zemmour upgrades also Marine Le Pen on Facebook with an engagement rate of 7% over one year (January 21-22) against 0.57% for the latter. Stratospheric.

On YouTube, with its 58,000 subscribers, for a channel created in 2016, the leader of the National Rally (RN) is far from the 459,000 subscribers of Éric Zemmour for a channel launched only last August. These few non-exhaustive figures should challenge According to the latest polls giving Marine Le Pen more than 10 points ahead of her competitor.

Do traditional polls fully grasp the digital forces involved? Or are we giving too much importance to the supposed influence of social networks in this campaign? Many scientific analyzes have nevertheless identified the mechanisms of digital influence which, against all odds, brought Donald Trump to power in 2016.

The landscape of social networks and their access has changed considerably in France as everywhere else in the world. The French in this case pass on average 1 hour more per day on their smartphones and 1.5 hours less on their computers and tablets since 2017.

Do the polls take this sociological phenomenon into account to the full extent?

Is the mobile user more inclined to show lightness in the expression of a vote by resorting – this is only a hypothesis – more to the smartphone than to the PC to answer an online survey?

How do you explain that a citizen surveyed by the very serious Harris Interactive can cast a vote for Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round, then announce that he is abstaining or voting for Emmanuel Macron in a second round with the same Jean-Luc Mélenchon who will have had his vote in the first round?

In a poll published this April 6, 2022, 5% of people expressing an intention to vote for Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round would indeed vote for the outgoing president during a second round Emmanuel Macron – Jean-Luc Mélenchon. And 3% of them would abstain in this same scenario. 8% would support Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round, then no longer support him in the second round!

Audience on social networks, massive use of smartphones, various economic factors; is the group of people agreeing to take part in a survey as representative in 2017 as in 2022 of the group of people who will vote? This question, the QOTMII barometer, which works by analyzing millions of data on the Web, imposes it with results that differ greatly from those obtained by pollsters.

The QOTMII method? Combine quantitative and qualitative analyzes that only sophisticated machines supported by artificial intelligence can perform instantly.

On the quantitative side, the QOTMII search engine scans all Web sources, social networks, including press and media sites as well as influential political blogs, in order to identify measures of buzz, media noise, visibility of each of the candidates in the running. No candidate for an election can think of being elected without taking a substantial place.

On the qualitative side, QOTMII analyzes the positive and negative perceptions and values ​​associated with candidates. These value words conveying meaning and strong emotions are the basis of QOTMII, which instantly calculates emotion scores similar to what pollsters call “popularity rating” or “trust rating”. Logic dictates that no unpopular candidate can win an election.

Finally, QOTMII has developed an algorithm that combines these quantitative and qualitative dimensions in the form of an indicator of electoral potential that can be consulted on theapplication QOTMII Politics France.

Results ? There is a certain correspondence between the ratings displayed by QOTMII and the poll figures with the exception of two candidates and not the least: Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour. One lower, the other higher. One, Éric Zemmour, has obtained a score of electoral potential qualifying him for the second round for long weeks without stopping. The other, Marine Le Pen, still below and disqualified.

The use of big data for electoral purposes is well known. Google Trends has been more than relevant in several elections, among others in the United States, Canada or in Germany, showing a strong correlation between who is most searched in the engine and who is elected. Today, Google Trends shows substantially the same trend as QOTMII.

Which opinion analysis methodology will be the most relevant this year? The classic survey approach or big data analysis? Whatever the election outcome, there will be lessons to be learned.

Denys Malengreau (@denys_mlg)

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Presidential 2022: polls or big data?

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