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Unavowed Abstention Can Overturn Poll Predictions

By Serge Galam


I revisit the 2017 French Presidential election which opposed the far right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen against the center candidate Emmanuel Macron. While voting intentions for Le Pen stuck below 50% and polls kept predicting her failure, I warned on the emergence of a novel phenomenon I defined as unavowed abstention, which could suddenly reverse the ranking at Le Pen benefit on the voting day. My warning got a massive media coverage. She eventually lost the runoff at a score worse than predicted by the polls. Using a quantitative mathematical framing, which reveals the existence of tipping points in respective turnouts, I show that the predicted phenomenon of unavowed abstention did happen. But instead of shattering the expected outcome, against all odds it occurred at Le Pen expense, therefore without impact on the final outcome. The results shed a new light on other national cases such as Obama and Trump victories in the US

Topics: poll estimates, actual voting, turnout, abstention, vote prediction, Le Pen, Physics, QC1-999
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fphy.2018.00024/full
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