Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will face each other in a runoff for the French Presidency, and pundits are poll-panicky. (More)

“I want to construct a majority to govern and to transform”

As predicted by most polls, Macron and Le Pen led the crowded field, with Macron finishing at 23.7% and and Le Pen at 21.5%. And of course that has Sarah Palin and other conservatives giddy, as they see the ‘reformed’ (cough) Neo-Nazi as ‘France’s Trump.’ And she does sound a lot like him:

You have brought me to the second round of the presidential election. I’d like to express my most profound gratitude. The first step that should lead the French people to the l’Elysée has been taken. This is a historic result.

It is also an act of French pride, the act of a people lifting their heads. It will have escaped no one that the system tried by every means possible to stifle the great political debate that must now take place. The French people now have a very simple choice: either we continue on the path to complete deregulation, or you choose France.

You now have the chance to choose real change. This is what I propose: real change. It is time to liberate the French nation from arrogant elites who want to dictate how it must behave. Because yes, I am the candidate of the people.

She left out the word blanc (white) before “people.” I’m sure it was an oversight.

Macron was more inclusive:

I want to construct a majority to govern and to transform, of new talents, in which all will have their place. I will not ask where they come from, but whether they agree with the renewal of our politics, the security of the French people, reforming society and relaunching the European project.

You are the face of this renewal. My fellow citizens, there is not more than one France. There is only one, ours, the France of patriots, in a Europe that protects and that we must reform. The task is immense, but I am ready, at your sides. Vive la République, vive la France.

Vive la France, indeed.

“But polls, eh?”

While the first round voting was tight, the same polls that pretty much nailed yesterday’s outcome show Marcon with a 63-27 lead over Le Pen in the runoff. Even so, the Guardian’s Twitter feed was … cautious:

And that’s the pundit spin this morning. Oh sure, the polls show him with a huge lead, but Brexit … but Trump!

Except those aren’t remotely comparable to the French polls, as FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver explains:

But in my view, the conventional wisdom espoused by analysts such as [Ian] Bremmer is more likely to be way more out to lunch. Before the U.S. election, Trump trailed Hillary Clinton by only about 2 percentage points in the average swing state. In the Brexit vote, the “Remain” campaign’s lead was at least as narrow: about 2 points according to a simple average of polls, or just 0.5 percentage points according to a more complex averaging method. So while Trump’s victory and Brexit were historic events in world history, they were utterly routine occurrences from a polling standpoint; 2- or 3-point polling errors are extremely common.

But while there were plenty of precedents for a polling error large enough to elect Trump, there aren’t all that many examples of a 26-point polling error, which is what Le Pen would need. Pundits and other political observers often have poor intuition when it comes to translating polls into probabilities, leading them to treat narrow, fragile leads the same as double-digit ones. Ironically, the same type of sloppy thinking that led people to underestimate the chances for the Trump and Brexit victories may lead them to overestimate Le Pen’s odds.

Yes, as Silver notes, the runoff is two weeks away and the polls may change. But the third- and fourth-place finishers in yesterday’s election – conservative François Fillon and socialist Benoît Hamon – endorsed Macron last night.

Le Pen’s anti-EU, anti-Islam, white supremacy message ran strong in a crowded field. But France isn’t the U.S., where winning the GOP nomination guarantees at least 45% of the general election vote. And France doesn’t have an Electoral College system, where Le Pen could lose the popular vote and still win the presidency. The same polls that accurately predicted the first round show that her ‘reformed’ (cough) Neo-Nazi schtick is still a fringe position in France.

Unless the polls swing drastically over the next couple of weeks, yesterday was probably her high-water mark.

“Well the one thing good is now I’ll get good press”

And speaking of winning whining:

I used to get great press. I get the worst press. I get such dishonest reporting with the media. That’s another thing that really has – I’ve never had anything like it before. It happened during the primaries, and I said, you know, when I won, I said, “Well the one thing good is now I’ll get good press.” And it got worse. (unintelligible) So that was one thing that a little bit of a surprise to me. I thought the press would become better, and it actually, in my opinion, got more nasty.

Yes, the God-King thought winning the GOP nomination and then the election would bring the press to heel. Instead, it prompted at least some of them to scrutinize him like an actual politician, instead of covering him as a ratings-golden lark.

Y’know that gesture humans do where you wiggle your index finger over the back of your thumb and call it “the world’s smallest violin?” Well, squirrel paws are even smaller, and I’m playing his song….


Photo Credit: Cristian Hartmann (Reuters)


Good day and good nuts