Thursday 27 April 2017
   
“I cannot prevent the French from being French.” - Charles de Gaulle
 
No more polls! Re-doing the Marseille forecast
By Jocelyn Evans, Gilles Ivaldi
27 March 2014 | Polls & Forecasts | 1015 words
So much for the PS’s hopes of political salvation in Marseille. The results of the first round showed the socialists down to an unexpected 20.8 per cent of the vote, in third place behind Jean-Claude Gaudin’s UMP at 37.6 per cent and Stéphane Ravier’s FN at 23.2 per cent.

Part of the apparent surprise at this municipal ‘21st April’ came courtesy of polls suggesting a tight race in the final run up to the municipals, but under-estimating the eventual support for the FN while inflating the PS score. For example, the last city-wide poll published by Le Figaro before the first round had Mennucci at 28 per cent and Ravier at 18 per cent, out by more than 5 percentage points.

Using polling information –an act either of bravery or folly, given just how ‘out’ polls have been in the past– we issued an ex-ante multi-district forecast for the vote and seat shares in each of the eight Marseille sectors, which suggested that the left could win a relative majority while the right would rely upon the FN seats –we anticipated 9 seats for Ravier’s lists– to win the city council. Hence our question – could the FN turn into kingmaker on the Canebière.

Have things changed dramatically since last Sunday? Based on the results of the first round and the current vote shares between the main competitive blocs, we can recalculate the likely distribution of votes at sector level. Jean-Claude Gaudin has already retained his personal stronghold of the fourth sector with an absolute majority of 50.1 per cent giving him 13 seats in the city council. He has also gone fishing for parties of the left, and has announced an alliance with the PRG list led by Lisette Narducci in sector n°2, which could give a decisive advantage to the UMP candidate Solange Biaggi in the run-off. It is unclear whether left-wing voters will be willing to follow their candidate and crossing the political Rubicon to support Gaudin’s protégée, so in this case we can only assume a 50/50 split between the left and the right. In the sixth sector, the UMP will confront a dissident candidate, Robert Assante, who won 13.4 per cent in the first round and who will be forcing the right into a potentially risky four-way contest against the left and the FN.

On the left, Mennucci has secured a second-round agreement with Jean-Marc Coppola’s FG (7.1 per cent in the first round), which should help the socialists avoid a meltdown in Sunday’s runoffs. Pape Diouf, the former president of the Olympique de Marseille football club, who won 5.6 per cent of the city’s vote, is out of the game but has given no indication as to which candidate would have his preference in the runoff. The majority of Diouf’s supporters should lean to the left in the decisive round: we assume a 80/20 split in favour of Mennucci. Finally, consistent with the position taken by its national politburo, the FN will be running across all remaining seven sectors, hoping for a win in the 7th where Ravier topped the first round with 32.9 per cent of the vote.

Based on the outcome of each of the main political blocs in the first round and the above competitive patterns (see table below), our multi-district model would suggest the following:

- Patrick Mennucci and his allies are clearly set to lose the election with 40 out of 101 seats
- They should, however win sectors 1, 2, 7, 8, mirroring the 2008 municipal pattern.
- In the second sector, because of Narducci’s defection, the left should fall short of an absolute majority but Eugène Caselli (PS) seems to be in the best position to win the sector with a potential 5 percentage point lead on his UMP rival. All together, left-wing candidates polled 54.9 per cent of the first-round vote in this sector, their highest score in Marseille.
- They may also pull something out of the electoral fire in the 1st sector where the left can hope for a relative majority against the right in the three-way runoff, provided most of Coppola and Diouf’s first round supporters come to Mennucci’s rescue in this critical swing sector. Not a given by any means.
- Contrary to earlier hopes of a tight race, Socialist minister Marie-Arlette Carlotti should fail to win the third sector by a significant margin.
- The right should win a relative majority of 48 seats, with an additional seat for right-wing dissident Robert Assante in sector 6.
- The model therefore anticipates a hung city council but with a relative right-wing majority.
- The FN could win up to 12 seats and ultimately force the local UMP into political cooperation. Alternatively, a number of the newly elected FN councillors might be tempted to join the victor’s camp and to enter Gaudin’s majority after the election.
- Strong voter mobilisation on the left will be key to stopping Stéphane Ravier from winning the mayorship in the 7th sector where the left had a 5 percentage point lead in the first round.
- Gaudin’s best chances for an absolute majority are found in the first sector: a shift of about 20% of the FN vote towards the UMP would give Dominique Tian a narrow victory in this critical swing sector, bringing the total seat share for the UMP up to 56.


Predicted number of municipal seats*

 

Estimated second-round vote

Estimated seats

Sector

Left

Right

FN

Diss

Total

Left

Right

FN

Diss

Total

1

43.7

41.2

15.0

0.0

100.0

8

2

1

0

11

2

44.1

39.4

16.5

0.0

100.0

6

2

0

0

8

3

38.1

43.8

18.2

0.0

100.0

2

8

1

0

11

4

26.1

50.1

17.3

6.5

100.0

1

13

1

0

15

5

26.9

47.5

25.6

0.0

100.0

2

11

2

0

15

6

24.9

35.9

25.9

13.4

100.0

1

9

2

1

13

7

37.7

29.5

32.9

0.0

100.0

11

2

3

0

16

8

50.3

22.1

27.6

0.0

100.0

9

1

2

0

12

MARSEILLE

 

 

 

 

 

40

48

12

1

101

*Seat forecast based on first round votes (% of valid vote cast)
Dissident in 6th sector: Robert Assante (other right)
80/20 left-right split for Diouf; 50/50 for other minor candidates; 50/50 left-right split for Narducci in the second sector


If its own vote is stable, the FN still has a role, then, as kingmaker, but only in determining how secure the mainstream right throne is. Should the party’s own supporters prove fickle to any extent in the crucial first sector, Gaudin can probably crown himself. With the loss then of his mayorship in the first sector, Mennucci’s downward spiral would plunge further.

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Welcome to '500Signatures', for analysis and commentary on French politics and elections

This blog is produced by Jocelyn Evans (University of Leeds) and Gilles Ivaldi (University of Nice)

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Jocelyn Evans [@JocelynAJEvans] is Professor of Politics at the University of Leeds

Gilles Ivaldi is a CNRS researcher in political science based at the University of Nice

 
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CATEGORY
 
DATA

- Forecasting the FN vote in Second-Order elections (updated 12 May 2014)

- Forecasting the FN vote in Second-Order elections (Jan. 2014)

- Polling scores by polling type (CATI v CAWI) (updated 20 April 2012)

- Estimating Marine Le Pen's vote in the 2012 presidentials: an experiment (November 2011)

- Data for the 2011 expert forecast survey (in CSV file)

 

 


 
Last modified on Monday 25 April 2016
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