NFP in the lead, RN weaker than expected… were the polls really wrong?

NFP in the lead, RN weaker than expected… were the polls really wrong?
NFP in the lead, RN weaker than expected… were the polls really wrong?

The New Popular Front created a surprise on Sunday by coming out on top in the legislative elections.

A result which contrasts with the predictions of the polling institutes the day after the first round.

However, studies published between the two rounds clearly revealed the trend confirmed on Sunday.

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2024 legislative elections

If the image of the new National Assembly had the effect of an electroshock, it is also because the polls had not seen the results coming. Until Friday, July 5, none of the research institutes had predicted the composition of the hemicycle. The most recent one, published on TF1info, still placed the National Rally as the favorite of the election with 170 to 210 seats. Enough to push some observers to accuse the institutes of having “rigged the polls.” There is actually a much more mechanical explanation, far from any conspiracy.

An effect of withdrawals

The most critical voices put side by side the projections in seats made on the evening of the first round and the results of Sunday, July 7. It is true that the gap is particularly spectacular. With nearly 33.15% of the votes collected, the National Rally was presented as the next party in power, with all the institutes giving it victory. Some even saw the possibility for the National Rally and its allies, the Republicans, to obtain an absolute majority, or 289 seats. The French ultimately only granted them 142.

Should we see any error on the part of the pollsters? That would be to forget the intensity of the political moment that France has just experienced. With a lightning campaign, the week between the two rounds was particularly crucial for the constitution of a republican front. For Frédéric Dabi, contacted by TF1info, the defeat of the party with the tricolor flame is thus first and foremost “mechanical”. “On the evening of the first round, the configuration was ideal for the National Rally, with more than 300 three-way races”recalls the head of Ifop, a polling institute which has never predicted an absolute majority for the extreme right.

But with 224 withdrawals of qualified candidates, the physiognomy of the second round completely changed during the campaign, causing a shift of voters from one bloc to the other. An effect confirmed by the analysis of the vote transfers. Voters of the New Popular Front very largely slipped a ballot for an Ensemble candidate (72%) when he faced an RN candidate, while a little more than half (43%) of the voters of the former majority participated in the Republican front.

The dynamics of a republican front was effective

Frédéric Dabi, Director General of Ifop

It is therefore first of all the dynamics of the Republican front which has been underestimated. However, it has not been neglected. “It is wrong to say that we did not see anything coming”defends Frédéric Dabi. And indeed, in the latest poll by the institute that we published on Friday, the trend was already emerging. The rise of the Ensemble group and the possibility of seeing the New Popular Front in the lead were visible, as was the decline of the candidates behind Jordan Bardella.

Thus, in this final poll for LCI, Le Figaro and Sud Radio, Ifop-Fiducial estimated that the RN was in the process of falling, and could only obtain between 170 and 210 seats. The candidates of the presidential camp continued on a good dynamic, with between 120 and 150 seats. As for the New Popular Front, the institute’s projection gave them between 120 and 150 seats. “We were out of range, but we saw that the left was doing better and that the National Rally was entering a zone of uncertainty”underlines Frédéric Dabi.

Above all, this image of a National Assembly divided between three blocs separated by around twenty seats already appeared in the polls. “We simply had uncertainty about the order of arrival”recognizes the general director of Ifop.

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If the polling institutes were “out of range”, Some therefore saw the impact of the Republican front on the results of the second round coming. Proof that this dynamic worked. It was simply more effective than expected. “The trend was there, we just didn’t have the end point”concludes the specialist in electoral behavior.

Felicia STARS



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