Monday, March 27, 2017

testing reality in France

If we learned anything from the 2016 election, it's never trust the polls. Polls are saturated with bias that soaks deep into the data-gathering methodology, which is how a site like Nate Silver's could end up so spectacularly wrong about Trumpenhill. But does this hard-won wisdom apply beyond the American situation to places like France? The French can be frustratingly nonlinear and far more exceptionalist than Americans can be, which may itself be a reason not to trust current polling in France. According to many French surveys, Marine Le Pen is en tĂȘte de queue for the first round of the French presidential election in April, but those same polls are saying she'll be losing big in the second-round elections in May (by May 7, election day, I'll be a few days into my walk, but I'll try to stay current via cell phone). I really have to wonder how valid the second-round prediction is, especially in the wake of failed predictions about both Brexit and Trump.*

We'll see soon enough. The first round is barely a month away. As the monkey said when it laid its tail across the train tracks: "Won't be long now."

*If you reply that there's also reason to question the validity of the first-round prediction, well, I'd agree. After all, anything goes.

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