Can a poll replace the right’s primary?

The political argument

Pécresse? Retailleau? Bertrand? Among Les Républicains (LR) and its affiliated right, no natural candidate emerges. Christian Jacob, the boss of the party, is therefore right to innovate for the nomination. He proposes to probe the expectations of his voters by resorting to a “scientific light”: two surveys among 15,000 people supervised by political scientist Pascal Perrineau. Ideal for avoiding a primary, radioactive source of heartbreaking debates and internal divisions.

Read also Presidential election of 2022: confusion around the opinion surveys conducted by LR to nominate a candidate

The practical argument

When a party begins to think primary, just on the modalities of the operation, it is a risk of backcombing assured. What do we choose? An open primary with candidates outside LR? Who do we vote for? By relying on the methods of a polling institute that does the job for you, we find the same virtues as with an external audit in a company. This allows management to avoid any suspicion of bias.

The bad faith argument

Imagine a completely fictitious scenario (or not). Let’s say that Christian Jacob and Gérard Larcher, the president of the Senate, a heavyweight of the party, have a very precise idea of ​​the champion they want to emerge. Let’s admit that they want to invest François Baroin, but that it is a question of remaining discreet. So, to avoid any unpleasant surprises, we order a small survey from a political scientist friend, we agree on the results of the consultation, and voila.

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The political counter-argument

Everyone agrees: the goal is to win the presidential election, not the party’s nomination. However, no offense to Sofres, Ipsos or Ifop, a survey has no predictive value to determine that the candidate invested is the one who will have the most chances. to become head of state. And we are talking about these infallible polls, which gave Edouard Balladur arch-winner in 1995 against Jacques Chirac? Or those who did not see Jean-Marie Le Pen coming in the second round, in 2002?

The practical counter-argument

Admittedly, the primary is not ideal and it induces obvious organizational difficulties and will always cost more than a telephone survey, but with a survey, the black box is guaranteed. What criteria should be used to choose a representative panel? Should we privilege the “right Trocadéro”, of the beautiful districts, or rather the popular right, “salon of agriculture”? In what proportion? And who would choose the panel? Should a first survey be carried out to establish the precise rules for the nomination survey?

Read also the summary: Fear of the Republicans: the right in the midst of an existential crisis

The bad faith counter-argument

Going through the poll box to nominate your candidate is the outward sign of the pauperization of politics. The reflection of a time when convictions no longer matter and proof that the LR leadership is no longer even afraid to assume an absolute non-choice. They are not the only ones in this case. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said she would wait to see if her possible candidacy would take in the polls before declaring herself. The next step ? Rely on an algorithm commissioned from Amazon.