Annals of Youtube Science 1(5) : Brexit means… ?

Bon, maintenant que le gouvernement a les mains libres pour déclencher le fameux « Article 50 TEU » et a annonce son intention de le faire très prochainement, il est grand temps de faire un petit topo « Brexit ».

Ce billet a été rédigé longtemps à l’avance ; si vous voulez lire des prévisions plus récentes sur le « Brexit », voici un scenario pessimiste, et un scenario optimiste.

Je ne sais pas vraiment qui croire, mais tends clairement vers l’option pessimiste : à mon sens, la Grande-Bretagne vient de signer pour au moins deux décennies de stagflation, avec de graves conséquences sur la mobilité sociale et à terme, quand les flux migratoires s’ajusteront à la nouvelle donne, sur la démographie.

En attendant, voici, à nouveau, une conférence de la chaîne Youtube du Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, qui a organisé, début novembre 2016, un « atelier Brexit ».

Ci-dessous la première partie de l’atelier :

La toute première intervention, de John Curtice, contient un florilège de graphiques résumant ce que l’on sait des attitudes des Britanniques vis-à-vis de l’Union européenne. Sur le quatrième graphique ci-dessous, par exemple, on voit clairement ce que John Curtice présente comme la réaction du public britannique aux sanctions européennes prises lors de la « crise de la vache folle » :

conf-curtice-1

conf-curtice-2

conf-curtice-3

conf-curtice-4

conf-curtice-5

La suite des vidéos de l’atelier/conférence :

Et sur le même sujet, le même centre de recherches a aussi organisé cette conférence, déjà mentionnée dans l’un de mes nombreux billets sur le Brexit.

Lectures recommandées

Une lecture supplémentaire de plus sur le Brexit : « Disunited Kingdom« , par le toujours excellent Henry Farrell, citant le toujours excellent Peter Mair. Pour une thèse similaire, voir, du même auteur (Farrell) : « This book explains why Jeremy Corbyn now leads Labour. Its author died in 2011« .

Quelques mots, désormais, pour attester du lien entre le « Brexit » et la situation actuelle du Labour sous la direction de Jeremy Corbyn. En fouillant les archives du blog, je réalise que je n’ai pas écrit de billet sur Corbyn—probablement parce que le personnage m’est sympathique, mais que je considère son élection comme une catastrophe politique, puisqu’elle signifie, à mes yeux, que les conservateurs gouvernent désormais la Grande-Bretagne sans opposition effective.

Quand Corbyn a été élu a la tête du parti travailliste, je me souviens avoir lu d’autres réactions très négatives à son élection—celle de Josep Colomer, par exemple, qui notait qu’un pourcentage infime d’électeurs travaillistes avait, de facto, voté pour lui à la primaire du parti. Henry Farrell explique par ailleurs très bien comment le parti en est arrivé là, en invoquant Mair, mais aussi, indirectement, Michels, et une foule d’autres spécialistes.

Le parti travailliste se trouve désormais dans la pire des configurations : sa base ne peut pas renverser son establishment sans éliminer complètement son assise électorale, et son establishment ne peut pas imposer à sa base un programme et/ou un leader qui lui permettrait de reconquérir l’exécutif. Le « Brexit » reflète en partie cette défaite : le vote « Leave » a donné un mandat à une partie du parti conservateur, tout en oblitérant complètement le parti travailliste, qui ne porte aucune alternative, de l’équation gouvernementale.

Le bilan est tragique : le seul parti qui prone une alternative à l’état courant des affaires est un parti indépendantiste qui ne pourra mettre en oeuvre la seule alternative post-Brexit – concrètement, un « Rejoin » ; Article 50, alinéa 5 – qu’au prix d’une dislocation du Royaume-Uni. Cela n’augure rien de positif pour personne : ni pour le Royaume-Uni, ni pour l’Écosse, ni pour « l’UE 27 » et ses dirigeants actuels et futurs.

Pour terminer, au rayon des lectures recommandables mais inaccessibles sans abonnements :

  1. Ces nouveaux clivages ne sont pas vraiment nouveaux, mais leur redéfinition en un point donné est toujours intéressante à observer. Idem du clivage rural/urbain. []

Demain à Paris : « Approaches to Understanding the Quality of Legislation »

Ce jeudi, le Médialab et le LIEPP de Sciences Po accueillent Ruth Dixon, qui présentera ses travaux sur l’étude de la législation à partir de méthodes initialement conçues en bio-informatique.

J’ai eu la chance d’assister à une présentation des recherches de Ruth Dixon il y a plus d’un an, à Londres, et la similarité entre son approche et celle à l’origine de « La Fabrique de la Loi » m’a incité à proposer cette invitation en séminaire.

Venez nombreux et sans vuvuzelas, mais surtout, n’oubliez pas de vous inscrire avant :

Élections 2017 : bibliographie et données supplémentaires

À l’invitation d’une amie non francophone, j’ai récemment retranscrit le peu de choses que je connais au sujet des élections présidentielle et législatives de cette année, ce qui a donné trois billets en anglais : un premier billet sur le score possible de Marine Le Pen au premier tour, un autre billet sur la candidature d’Emmanuel Macron, et un dernier billet sur les données d’enquête et sondagières.

N’étant pas du tout spécialiste de la participation politique et/ou des élections, je n’ai rien écrit d’exceptionnellement original ou même fouillé dans ces billets. En revanche, si le sujet vous intéresse, je connais quelques noms de spécialistes à lire—ou à écouter, quand France Culture ou Mediapart leur donnent le temps nécessaire pour s’exprimer.

Quelques références à lire ou écouter

Quelques heures après sa publication, j’ai complété mon dernier billet par une note de bas-de-page à la toute fin du texte, afin d’y lister toutes les enquêtes dont on dispose en France pour étudier le comportement électoral. La liste se base sur l’annexe du dernier ouvrage deVincent Tiberj, Les citoyens qui viennent, que je viens tout juste de commencer, et qui est absolument magistral.1

On peut également écouter Vincent Tiberj sur France Culture, ou se tourner vers cet autre livre, sur le vote de Mitterrand à Hollande, qu’il a dirigé et publié il y a quelques années.

Les deux autres références que je conseillerais de lire dans la perspective des élections qui arrivent sont l’ouvrage de Céline Braconnier (ou alors ses articles récents) sur la participation électorale, et le livre collectif Les faux semblants du Front national.

Sur le Front national toujours, Mediapart – où l’on retrouve actuellement le politiste Fabien Escalona : salut Fabien ! – fait en ce moment un superbe travail de dissémination des résultats de la science politique au sujet du « vote Le Pen » et de la sociologie du FN : le dernier article en date donne la parole à trois des auteurs publiés dans Les faux semblants…, Nonna Mayer, Valérie Igounet, et mon discret co-blogueur Joël, dont j’ai recommandé l’ouvrage il y a peu.

Et si vous n’êtes pas abonné à Mediapart, rabattez-vous au moins sur leurs vidéos, qui ne coûtent rien et qui donnent vraiment à chacun des invités le temps de dérouler un discours construit et étayé.

Quelques données à consulter ou à travailler

Cette année, outre la liste des élus socialistes soutenant Emmanuel Macron (compilée par des militants de François Fillon, si j’en crois mes sources), on dispose aussi de la liste nominative des parrainages constitutionnellement requis pour être effectivement candidat à l’élection présidentielle :

Et vu que, grâce à l’activisme du mouvement open data en France, on dispose aussi depuis quelques années d’un portail de données où l’on trouve facilement – et dans des formats pas trop dégueulasses – les résultats des élections récentes, voici quelques graphiques sur les élus ayant parrainé un(e) candidat(e) ou l’autre :

Chacun des graphiques indique quel élu a parrainé quel candidat, en fonction du score moyen de François Hollande à l’élection présidentielle de 2012, au premier puis au second tour, dans le département de l’élu. Même si l’on pourrait se pencher sur des résultats plus précis2, les tendances observées ici sont déjà assez nettes :

  • Le parrainage est un acte extrêmement contraint en fonction du mandat : dans leur immense majorité, les parlementaires ne parrainent que les candidats issus de groupes eux-mêmes représentés dans les chambres parlementaires.
  • Malgré la dispersion, le candidat parrainé est, en moyenne (ou plutôt, en médiane), fonction des préférences agrégées des électeurs du bassin de population dont est issu l’élu(e).

Le cas d’Emmanuel Macron est intéressant (car oui, Macron est un cas) : à première vue, les élus le parrainant ressemblent, du point de vue de leur « terreau » électoral, plus à ceux de François Fillon (ou à ceux de… Jacques Cheminade) qu’à ceux de Benoît Hamon. Il faudrait néanmoins contrôler par tout plein de choses pour arriver à un résultat plus convaincant que ça.

Un autre vision du même résultat ci-dessous, mais à un niveau encore plus fortement agrégé, puisqu’on ne regarde que la moyenne. Attention, les moyennes incluent les élus d’outre-mer, ce qui a tendance à faire monter le vote Hollande 2012″ sur à peu près tous les candidats :

Je ne sais pas si l’on s’oriente vers une élection de rupture, avec réalignement partisan majeur de type « ouvert/fermé » – « Europe/frontières » – « GAL/TAN » – etc., mais en tout cas, le clivage gauche/droite a l’air encore vivace. La « politique des deux axes » est peut-être en train de se consolider.

Cliquez sur les graphiques pour les versions PDF. Pour le code et les données au format CSV, c’est par là. Et si vous avez le temps de faire passer une multinomiale à travers les données, je suis preneur des résultats : je voulais le faire, mais j’ai sagement préféré corriger des copies en retard à la place.

Dernière chose : aviez-vous remarqué que, parmi les candidats de l’élection présidentielle 2017, on ne trouve de diplômés des grandes écoles que chez les candidats « hors-système » (non soutenus par un groupe parlementaire) ?

Tableau ci-dessous, mis à jour le 23 mars :

La colonne « patrimoine » est évidemment très approximative, et non renseignée pour le candidat actuellement mis en examen au sujet de ses comptes personnels. Plus parlante, la dernière colonne donne une idée de qui sont les insiders du marché électoral.

L’ensemble du tableau n’est pas à prendre de manière trop littérale : ni le capital socio-culturel, ni le capital économique n’y sont mesurés de manière suffisamment précise, le capital social n’y figure pas, et il manque toutes les ressources des mouvements politiques, dont les comptes et le nombre d’élus, par exemple.

  1. Et pour parfaire les choses, le bouquin vient avec son blog, hébergé sur Hypothèses, et où l’on trouve toutes sortes de compléments utiles. []
  2. En utilisant des résultats plus désagrégés, comme me l’a suggéré Baptiste, ou en répétant l’exercice avec les données des élections intermédiaires — mais dans les deux cas, il faudrait procéder à des recodages plus complexes que ce que j’étais prêt à faire. []

Notes de travail sur les réseaux de collaboration législative

J’ai eu la chance d’intervenir, il y a dix jours, dans le séminaire interne du CEVIPOL, le laboratoire de science politique de l’Université Libre de Bruxelles. J’étais invité par Émilien Paulis, que je remercie au passage pour l’invitation, pour la logistique et pour l’accueil sur place.

Mon intervention portait sur l’étude des réseaux de collaboration législative. Les slides que j’ai utilisées sont proches de celles que j’avais présentées en juin 2016 dans une conférence d’utilisateurs de R, et que j’ai présentées à nouveau cette même année dans une conférence « quanti » à Lille et dans le séminaire du Médialab de Sciences Po.

Quelques extraits ci-dessous, à cliquer pour obtenir les slides au complet :

Polls, surveys and the known unknowns of the French presidential election

Un dernier billet en anglais, et je ne dirai plus rien sur l’élection présidentielle de cette année. Je ne pense même pas faire de “post-mortem” du premier tour, vu que mes prédictions n’ont rien d’exceptionnel (loin de là) et que les réponses les plus intéressantes viendront après les résultats – et l’étude des reports de voix – des législatives.

If you have read any of my two previous blog posts on the respective electoral prospects of Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron in the upcoming French presidential election, you might have noticed that I did not use either polling or survey data to produce my predictions, relying entirely instead on past elections.

This is because I hold strong views about both opinion polls and electoral survey data when it comes to France. I detail these views below, as some kind of a methodological appendix to my previous posts.

Note that my electoral predictions are nothing but semi-educated guesses, and that my methodological views are just the same: I have no scientific credentials in the fields of electoral studies, opinion polling or survey methodology.

Like the previous ones, this post is written in English because it is addressed to friends who do not read French, but who keep asking about the French presidential election and the risk that it might turn into a local equivalent of the Brexit “Leave” vote or Donald J. Trump’s election to the U.S. presidency.

French opinion polls

As in any other wealthy representative democracy, opinion polls provide a large share of the electoral horse race spectacle. And just like anywhere else, these opinion polls have sometimes been awfully wrong, even though their average historical record is, by and large, broadly accurate (more on that later).

There are lots of reasons why one might be skeptical of opinion polls in general, and French opinion polls in particular. The classical Bourdieusian critique applies here, and French political scientist Alain Garrigou has done lots to popularise it: polls are partly performative, insofar as they frequently ask questions that respondents had not thought about before. In the context of a two-round election, this particularly applies to hypothetical “second-round” voting scenarios.1

Another problem, which is perhaps more prevalent in French opinion polling than elsewhere, has to do with sampling. In recent years, the issue of whether opt-in Internet sampling creates representative samples has attracted a lot of discussion, but an older and, in my view, more problematic issue, has to do with quota sampling, another non-probabilistic method that is widely used by French polling institutes, principally because it is much less expensive than proper random sampling.

The main problem with quota sampling is that it creates a layer of opacity around the precise re-weighting methods used to make the poll as representative as possible of the target population – an operation called “redressement” in French. Polling institutes develop their own “in-house” methods for doing so, and then sit on it like some kind of industrial secret.2

This is a huge issue: even when quota sampling seems to be able to approximate simple random sampling, we have no idea how that happens. To me, this issue makes the defence of quota sampling hopeless, perhaps even more than the trivial observation that the standard error of a quota sample has no formal relationship to sample size, which makes the presentation of error margins in quota-based polling results highly misleading to the public.

The points made above are all present on the Francophone Wikipedia entry for opinion polls. The entry has multiple issues to do with its sources and the balance of its sections, but it otherwise makes a good read on the topic of why opinion polling is a problematic source of information, especially when it comes to voting behaviour. And if you need an example of a recent opinion poll to illustrate how black-boxed polling methodology is, here’s one.3

What can electoral polls be used for?

The flaws outlined above do not mean that opinion polls cannot produce either interesting forecasts or useful information. Measures of voting uncertainty, for instance, can be accurately measured through polls, although their generalisation to the electorate is still a very risky exercise absent of detailed information on the composition and re-weighting/redressement of poll samples. Still, compared to past elections, it seems that voting uncertainty is currently very high, especially on the left.

Another interesting use of opinion polls for electoral purposes consists in aggregating as many polls as possible, re-weight their results according to what we know of their past performance and overall reliability, and then use these results to forecast future electoral results. This style of electoral forecasting has been popularised by Nate Silver‘s forecasts of U.S. elections, some of which were highly accurate, some of which were far off the mark.4

There is currently one attempt to build a Silver-style, “polls-only” forecast of the French 2017 presidential election, which came to my knowledge thanks to a tweet by François Massot. The forecast is produced by Victor Poughon and published on the “Depuis 1958” (“Since 1958”) website. The current result of the forecast, which is based on transparent polling data, unambiguously predicts that Emmanuel Macron will win the election:5

The unequivocal result of the 2017 forecast is, to me, less interesting than the “retrofit” of the model to previous elections. The Bayesian methodology of the forecast shows the model fit to the 2012 presidential election, with the difference between the actual (red) and predicted (black) results:

I also find this kind of exercise interesting because it produces a rough estimate of how much of the vote might go to the first-tier (20%+ vote shares), second-tier (10-20% vote shares) and third-tier candidates (5% or less vote shares). In 2012, these shares respectively represented around 55%, 38% and 7% of the first-round vote. For 2017, the model predicts 44%/44%/12% vote shares, which is consistent with estimates of higher voting uncertainty:

Final observations: note how wide the credible intervals reflected in the predicted vote shares shown above are. Also note that the model does not say anything about turnout, which might be lower this year. Last, note that the model cannot inform us about who is voting for whom, i.e., about voter realignments (which can also differ between presidential and legislative elections). For all these reasons, we need other forms of electoral data to supplement what polls might provide.

French electoral surveys

Especially perhaps in a multi-party system, highly detailed and sophisticated electoral surveys are much, much more important than polls to get the data generating process – i.e. what makes people cast a vote, and for whom – right. Do we have (access to) such surveys in France?

The answer is: kind of. Here are, for instance, some results from the most recent CEVIPOF/Ipsos/Steria electoral survey, the Enquête Électorale Française 2017, which also show high rates of voting uncertainty, especially when it comes to the left-wing candidates:

What credit might we lend to that survey? There is, in fact, no way to tell, except for CEVIPOF or Ipsos/Steria insiders. The survey data are not public, and the kind of sketchy technical explanations provided in the media hint that even for the official partners of the survey, French newspaper Le Monde and the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, the exact methodology that produced the data is a black box.

Lack of transparency from private polling institutes is one thing; but partly-publicly funded research is different, or at least, in my view, should be. The conclusions that insiders are drawing from the Enquête Électorale Française 2017 are highly valuable, but they do not allow outsiders to learn anything from the survey data itself, or to reuse the data in different ways. In short, French electoral data, just like many other forms of data, suffer from serious availability and cumulativity issue.

Further problems with survey data

There are several other problems with “flat microdata” (repeated cross-sections), which make up most of polling and electoral survey data.

First, to answer some questions, we need proper longitudinal (panel) data, that is, data that are produced by asking repeated questions to the same respondents at different points in time. Second, for many other questions, we need relational (network) data, of the kind produced by family-wide sampling (when the entire household is sampled). Last, in the many cases (including voting) where geography matters, we often need spatial (geolocated) data.

A few years ago, my co-blogger Joël called for the launch of a longitudinal French National Election Study, suggesting that the survey should allow multilevel analysis—that is, a form of analysis that can observe and control for the existence of hierarchical (e.g. local/regional/national) patterns:

Such a survey exists in the United States. France has no equivalent survey; the French national statistics agency does not seem to be interested in running one; and the European Social Survey, which has many of the required qualities that such a survey would call for, can only imperfectly fit the bill. Last, the French Ministry of the Interior cannot produce such a survey, out of fear of being accused to produce a partisan survey.


As a result of the many different limitations outlined above, there is no data source to turn to when one wants to analyse voting intentions in France. Sure, there are polls and electoral surveys, but neither of them are currently transparent enough to allow for independent reanalysis. Instead, what we have in France is a small club of (French) election specialists, working on disparate data sources that only very imperfectly cumulate.

Things might be getting better: France has a data repository, the Réseau Quételet, which lets researchers access some of the existing electoral studies produced under the supervision of various research teams. Note, however, that the current “French Election Studies,” a by-product of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES), are limited to presidential-election years, and are available only for 2007 and 2012, even though they seem to have been running for longer than that.

Further reading

This blog has many posts about opinion polls, some of which focus on (older) French presidential elections: see here, here and here.

For a fuller assessment of French survey data, take a look at the appendix in Vincent Tiberj’s last book on cohort and generational effects among French citizens. The book itself is absolutely excellent, and the appendix provides a useful list of surveys – many of them cross-national – that contain data on French social and political attitudes6

  1. And outside of electoral periods, one might argue that polls co-produce the presidential approval ratings that they claim to measure. Notwithstanding, I do not agree with Garrigou that prohibiting electoral polls is the way to go. []
  2. Furthermore, there is no French equivalent of either the ICPSR or the Pew Research Center, which means that there is no repository of polling data to turn to in order to inspect raw survey data. As a consequence, the entire system of French opinion polls is effectively black-boxed. []
  3. The linked example characteristically provides none of the methodological explanations that should come with any polling result: how were the samples collected, how was nonresponse addressed, what the denominators are for population/electorate estimates, etc. []
  4. For another example of aggregated-polls-based forecasting, see Chris Hanretty’s forecast of the Italian 2013 general election. []
  5. Note that the 2017 forecast goes beyond the first round of the election, and actually attempts to predict second-round results. []
  6. Namely: EB, EVS, ESS, EES, CEVIPOF and TriÉlec 2012 surveys, CNCDH Racism Barometer, Insee Participation Survey, Ined TeO survey, and the 1967 French National Election Survey by Philip E. Converse and Roy Pierce. One might consider adding the ISSP and the Insee EDP (census extract) to the list. []

Guesstimating the Macron presidential candidacy

Un autre billet en anglais, en complément du précédent, au sujet de l’élection présidentielle, et en réaction aux amis qui m’ont fait remarquer que j’étais trop catégorique dans mon refus de voir Emmanuel Macron au second tour.

En bref : j’ai fait « de mon mieux » (si l’on peut dire), mais je ne vois toujours pas Macron au-delà de 7 millions de voix, ce qui n’est suffisant pour atteindre le second tour de l’élection présidentielle qu’en cas d’abstention massive.


My previous post on the 2017 French presidential election was primordially an attempt to provide a precise estimate of the (lower credible bound of the) vote for Marine Le Pen, the candidate for the extreme-right Front national party.

Several friends, however, have focused their reactions to my post on one of my side comments, about the likelihood of “Centrist” candidate Emmanuel Macron to reach the second round of the election. Here are some more thoughts on that.

tl;dr – I am not making any predictions about whether Emmanuel Macron will be on the second round of the French presidential election. Rather, I am arguing that there is no evidence to believe that he will.

In what follows, I examine Macron’s candidacy in light of (1) its “Centrist” (social-liberal) positioning, (2) its relative position within voting choices, and (3) its opportunistic potential, which I believe to be the most correct way to assess its first-round electoral potential.

Update, March 16: added a link to a research note that contains useful information to support my remarks on Macron’s position vis-à-vis the French median voter.

Macron as a “Centrist” candidate

Macron was minister of the economy under incumbent Socialist president François Hollande from 2014 to 2016, but he did not take part in the Socialist primary election. Instead, he has been running since 2016 as an independent candidate with support from various centre-left and centre-right politicians, thus making him some kind of a “Centrist” candidate.

It also seems fair to designate Macron as the “Centrist” candidate in the election because he has received the support of the former historical “Centrist” candidate François Bayrou, who ran for the (centre-right) UDF/MoDem party in the 2002, 2007 and 2012 presidential elections.

The representation of Macron as a “Centrist” candidate is reinforced by the fact that there are no other Centrist candidate in the election, and by the relative positions of left-wing candidate Benoît Hamon and right-wing candidate François Fillon, who are believed to come from the left-wing and right-wing of their respective parties. As a consequence, Macron is currently perceived as a candidate who is closer to the median voter than any of the governing party candidates.

It should be noted that the French presidential election has already been won by a “Centrist” candidate: in 1974, when Valéry Giscard d’Estaing distanced Socialist candidate François Mitterrand by 425,000 votes, in the closest presidential election since the inception of the French Fifth Republic in 1958.

Some observers are reading Macron’s candidacy as a new “Giscardian moment” in French politics, but that view is, in my opinion, highly misguided. In 1974, the French right-wing was officially divided between rival Gaullist and Centrist political parties, leading to an “endogenous switch” from the former to the latter.1 That division does not exist today.

Macron as a potential Condorcet winner

It is much more likely, in my view, that Emmanuel Macron might (just might) be a potential Condorcet winner for some part – not all – of the French electorate. There seems to be empirical support for that hypothesis in some opinion polls, but I would argue that opinion polls are, by design, cognitively biased towards these kinds of scenarios.

If we accept to consider Macron as a winner in the Condorcet paradox, then we accept that the preferences of a determinant majority of voters are of the following form:

P1 : A > B > C

P2 : B > C > A

P3 : C > A > B

… where A and B designate the left-wing and right-wing candidates of the election, and C designates Macron.

It does not matter, for our purposes, which of Hamon or Fillon are denoted by A and B, as the paradox persists regardless: under rank-ordering, there is a set of voting preferences ( P1, P2, P3 ) that eliminates candidate C from a majority vote that retains only the two largest sets of preferences, even though candidate C had initially obtained the largest set of transitive preferences.

Opinion polls are cognitively biased towards that scenario because they do not limit the depth of rank-ordering, whereas a two-round election with only two candidates on the second round does: in effect, the first round of the election does not serve to select A or B, but to eliminate all other candidates. Unless the election proceeds through cardinal voting, all preferences beyond the first choice are irrelevant.

A somewhat more realistic way to poll the electorate of a two-round election would be to ask them which pair of candidates (X, Y) they want to see reach the second round of the election, in which case the question boils down to which candidate they do not want to see get past round one:

P1 : ( A, B ) > { ( A, C ), ( B, C ) } ~ ¬ C

P2 : ( B, C ) > { ( B, A ), ( C, A ) } ~ ¬ A

P3 : ( C, A ) > { ( C, B ), ( A, B ) } ~ ¬ B

I have yet to see any polling institute frame its questions under that kind of “eliminative” voting behaviour. Note that this behaviour scales alright even if one considers more than three candidates, which would be relevant in the context of (at least this instance of) the French presidential election.

Macron as an opportunistic newcomer

Yet another way to frame Macron’s candidacy consists in comparing it to that of Édouard Balladur, a former Prime Minister who ran as an independent right-wing candidate in the 1995 French presidential election, at a time where almost all current politicians were already fighting for ministerial seats and presidential careers. Here are some pictures from Balladur’s government formation in 1993, showing, from left to right, Nicolas Sarkozy, François Fillon and Alain Juppé:

Encouraged by his high approval rates at the end of his dual-executive “cohabitation (divided government) mandate under Socialist president François Mitterrand’s second term, Balladur ran and came out out third on the first round of the election, with 5.6 million votes out of 30.4 million (18.5%). Balladur lost to Socialist Lionel Jospin, who came out first, and to the legitimate right-wing candidate Jacques Chirac, who got 690,000 more votes (roughly 2.3 percentage points) than Balladur.

Balladur and Macron are biographical twins. Both are archetypical French political elites, who studied in the same schools – Sciences Po Paris and the École Nationale d’Administration –, and then worked in the same offices, at the Secretary General of the Presidency and at the Ministry of Economics and Finance. Both have also worked for the private sector, although Balladur worked for the industry while Macron is a former banker.

Balladur and Macron might also be considered to be ideologically close. During his time as Prime Minister, Balladur (unsuccessfully) pushed for an economic reform that would have allowed employers to pay young workers less than the minimum wage. My own interpretation of Macron’s statements on the low-wage jobs offered by Uber puts him very close to that same idea, which has become a staple of social-liberal labour reforms, along with zero-hour contracts:

The caption reads: “The reality is that indeed, [Uber drivers] sometimes work 60 or 70 [weekly] hours to earn the [minimum wage].” In the rest of the interview, Macron argues that some fraction of the minimum wage is better than not working, or better than working in the criminal economy. Watch the full thing.

Last, there is some similarity between Balladur and Macron in terms of their electoral strategy. The similarity stems from the fact that, when Balladur ran for president in 1995, he was supported by many centre-right politicians, as well as by some right-wing dissidents disloyal to the Chirac candidacy. Quite similarly, Macron’s candidacy has gathered support from centre-right politicians, joined by some centre-left Socialists.

This parallel, however, also reveals some critical differences. In 1995, the centre-right was regrouped into a single political party that had not yet split into the two different parties that it has now become, one of which is currently holding to the electoral alliance that it has formed with the right-wing ahead of the forthcoming legislative elections.

Furthermore, and more importantly than the partisan structure itself, while Balladur could ground his presidential candidacy on the landslide electoral victory of the centre-right and right-wing parties in the 1993 legislative elections, Macron has no past event on which to base a tentative electoral coalition between his centre-right and centre-left supports.

That last difference is, to me, a crucial one. In my view, it shows that, beyond their common opportunism, Balladur and Macron are two different kinds of candidates, with only the latter really fitting the description of an opportunistic political newcomer trying to take advantage of low incumbent governmental performance:

Predicting Macron’s first-round score

Let’s now turn to reading Macron’s tea leaves.

While my previous post explored Marine Le Pen’s first-round electoral prospects, the methodology that I used to do so does not apply here, because Macron’s “En marche !” movement did not run in any past “intermediary” election. Instead, what we have at hand are limited similarities (and, in my view, some crucial differences) between Macron and former presidential candidates François Bayrou and Édouard Balladur.

François Bayrou scored 2 million votes (6.8% vote share) in 2002, 6.8 million votes in 2007 (18.5%), and 3.2 million votes in 2012 (9.1%). This puts his best electoral performance at the same vote share as Balladur obtained in 1993, although Balladur reached that percentage by getting 1.2 million votes less.

In the first round of the 2012 presidential election, a vote count of 6.8 million votes would have placed a hypothetical candidate in third place, just above Marine Le Pen. What I suggest is to use that count as the lower bound of a plausible interval for the Macron vote in 2017, and to use a “Bayrou 2007” vote share of 18.5% out of 47 million registered voters with 80% turnout (i.e. 6.95 million votes) as the upper bound of that same interval.

That puts my highest prediction of Macron’s first-round score at almost 7 million votes.

Given how it is computed, this prediction is highly uncertain: for instance, Macron might just as well turn to be a “Jean-Pierre Chèvenement” style of independent presidential candidate, in reference to a former Socialist minister who ran as an independent in the 2002 presidential election and ended up with just above 5% of the vote share. In other words, my lower bound does not preclude the possibility of a Macron “overhyped” candidacy that will eventually fare well below my estimate.

Furthermore, my prediction makes Macron a possible second-round candidate only if the 2017 presidential election makes 18.5% of the vote enough to reach the second round. If you read my previous post, you know that this has been the case only once since 1995, when Jean-Marie Le Pen got on the second round of the 2002 presidential election with roughly 17% of the first-round vote.

On top of that, to reach my upper bound of almost 7 million votes, Macron would need more than twice the electorate that François Bayrou managed to attract on the first round of the previous presidential election. Even if we grant Macron all of Bayrou’s former 2012 voters, that leaves Macron with 3.75 million votes to find among the rest of the electorate.2

That last number represents over a third of the votes that either right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy or left-wing candidate François Hollande each got on the first round of the 2012 presidential election, and still over a third of the right-wing vote in the second round of the last regional elections (which had a much lower turnout rate than we should expect the 2017 presidential election to reach).

Assessing Macron’s candidacy

I can understand why young, brilliant, ambitious and highly connected technocratic elite Emmanuel Macron is running for president, just as I can understand why the French media are loving his independent, “above-the-rest” candidacy. But that does not affect my current prediction that Macron has very little chance to be on the second round of the 2017 presidential election.

Macron is a former banker with exactly zero electoral credentials and no preexisting electoral support. His political movement is not a mass movement, and his media dominance is nowhere near the kind of mass communication that propelled the rise of right-wing moguls like Silvio Berlusconi in Italy or Donald J. Trump.

In order for Macron to reach the second round of the upcoming presidential election, one needs to imagine a mass defection of right-wing and/or left-wing voters—not such an unlikely scenario, given the current state of affairs, but Macron is absolutely not the only candidate that disloyal voters from either side might defect to.

Taking all these parameters into account, I struggle to imagine any reason why Macron would effectively be on the second round. Perhaps his candidacy would benefit from a “mass abstention” scenario that would result in very low turnout, but that is just one more unlikely configuration that defies prediction.3

In brief, and somewhat unoriginally, Macron remains my “blind spot” in this election. He might do “well” in the first round, but to an extent that I do not deem sufficient to bring him to round two.

If you think otherwise, I would need to see some hard facts, articulated into some kind of plausible electoral scenario that does not stray too far ahead from past elections.


As way of full disclosure, I have no personal sympathy for Emmanuel Macron, and I decided not to re-register to vote when he was made Minister of the Economy, which I still consider to be the single most critical strategic mistake ever made by a left-wing French government. I have even less sympathy for Marine Le Pen and the Front national, the main topics of my previous post.


Further reading4

The reason why this post includes a short discussion of Macron as a potential Condorcet winner is because François Bayrou has been called a Condorcet winner before, in the context of the 2007 presidential election. For a detailed account of Bayrou’s 2007 high performance in that election, see this book chapter by Sylvie Strudel and this journal article by Nicolas Sauger.

After researching the issue a bit more, I also got the impression that Macron’s potential as a Condorcet winner might be even higher than Bayrou’s: many left-wing voters seem hesitant about their first-round vote,5 and the spectrum of politicians calling for a Macron vote extends to all sorts of right-wing and left-wing figures, including Greens and even (former or current) Communists, all calling for some kind of “vote utile”.

For a clearer formulation and detailed discussion of the Condorcet voting paradox, I highly recommend reading Dasgupta and Maskin’s “On the Robustness of Majority Rule” (2008):

  1. The “endogenous switch” (alternance endogène) expression comes from Jean-François Sirinelli, La Cinquième République, Presses Universitaires de France, 2009, p. 39. []
  2. Adjusting the Bayrou vote for the difference in electorate size between the two elections brings that figure down by only 200,000 votes. []
  3. See my very last footnote for a comment on why I prefer not to predict anything about turnout and voting uncertainty in this blog post. []
  4. This section was added a few hours after initial publication, based on early comments from my co-blogger Joël and a few other friends. I also added a few more links and changed a few words here and there. []
  5. Since making precise statements about (turnout and) voting uncertainty involves looking at polling data, I plan to finish this series by covering that topic in a third and last blog post. Stay tuned! []

Reading the tea leaves of the French 2017 presidential election

Un billet en anglais, pour les copains et copines qui se demandent, depuis l’étranger, si ce genre d’article, sur la possibilité pour le Front national d’emporter l’élection présidentielle à venir, est justifié. En bref : de mon point de vue, non. J’en profite, du coup, pour publier ma lecture des feuilles de thé électorales de la présidentielle 2017, à onze jours de la validation des dernières candidatures par le Conseil constitutionnel.

Recently, quite a few friends from outside France have been asking me or other friends whether Marine Le Pen, the candidate of the French Front national extreme-right party, has any chance to win the next French presidential election. Here are some thoughts on that.

tl;dr – It’s highly unlikely that the Front national will win the next presidential election, unless it manages to attract a massive amount of (mostly right-wing) voters in the second round.

Let’s start by looking at some raw numbers.

Recent first-round votes

The French electoral system features several two-round elections, and several “intermediary” (i.e. local) elections between two presidential/legislative elections, which have been synced since 2000.

Because the French presidential election has two rounds, the best estimate of how a candidate or party is doing is to look at the last two-round intermediary elections, which were the departmental elections and regional elections of 2015.1

The Front national did very well on the first rounds of both elections. In the départementales, it got 5.1 million votes (25% of the vote), and led the vote in roughly 1 canton out of 6. In the régionales, that figure rose to 6 million votes (27% of the vote), which was also the number of voters that Marine Le Pen got on the first round of the 2012 presidential election.

Lesson No. 1 is therefore that the Front national currently has a very large electoral base. In the first round of the last intermediary elections, that base was just a couple million votes below what governing coalitions got: right-wing coalitions scored 6.8/7.4 million votes, and left-wing coalitions scored 7.4/7.8 million votes (départementales/régionales, first round results only).

This is certainly good reason for concern if you support any other party–or rather, any left-wing or right-wing coalition, because despite what many people seem to think, French elections are won by (second-round) coalitions, not parties.

Which brings me to my next section.

Recent second-round votes

Second-round elections require parties to either find coalition partners, or to attract additional voters. Most of the time, the Front national has to opt for the latter strategy, because all other contending parties will coalesce against it—a strategy known as the cordon sanitaire/front républicain strategy.

There have been, however, many local ‘exceptions’ to the cordon sanitaire, whereby the Front national was able to formally ally with right-wing politicians, and several right-wing ideologues are calling for a “union des droites” (“right-wings union”) between the Front national and any other potential right-wing party. More on that towards the end of this post.

On the second round of the last two intermediary elections, the Front national lost 1 million votes in the départementales, but gained 800,000 voters (+ 13%) in the régionales.

Vote loss in the second round is a common scenario for the Front national in intermediary elections: the same thing happened in all previous similar elections, and in all pre-2015 regional elections. It is, in fact, the common scenario that all parties go through, because of the difference in turnout between intermediary and non-intermediary elections.

The important part here is therefore the result of the second round of the 2015 regional election, in which the Front national made some nontrivial progress to the point of getting more votes than in the 2012 presidential election. Despite that, it failed to win any regional council presidencies, just as it failed to win any departmental council presidencies in the previous 2015 local election.

Lesson No. 2 is therefore that the Front national is currently in capacity to win votes between the two rounds of an election, just as it did in the 2002 presidential election when Jean-Marie Le Pen gained around 700,000 voters (+ 14%) in the second round.

This is another good reason for concern if you support any other party/coalition, although right-wing coalitions enjoyed a much larger increase of (over 3.2 million) votes between the two rounds of the 2015 regional election.

Now let’s look at 2017.

Predicted 2017 candidates

Like many other political spaces, French politics are currently stricken with anti-incumbent syndrome. François Hollande, the incumbent left-wing president, is not running for reelection. Neither will Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president who did only one term right before Hollande.

Instead, the French (left-wing) Socialist Party has elected Benoît Hamon, a candidate who is further away from the French median voter than his former rivals, and who is facing serious competition from far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Meanwhile, the French (right-wing) Republicans Party has elected François Fillon, a candidate who was already less appealing to right-wing Centrists than many others, and who is currently facing highly damaging legal charges.

Last, the “centrist” candidate of the election, Emmanuel Macron, who started as an outsider even though he was François Hollande’s minister of the economy, is now receiving support from both left-wing and right-wing moderates.

The problem with that setup is that governing party candidates are facing mediocre second-round prospects – even against a Front national candidate, neither Hamon or Fillon can expect much of each other’s voters to vote for them. This state of affairs is leading quite a few observers to consider Macron as the best second-round candidate against Marine Le Pen, but let’s remember that Macron, a former banker with economically liberal views, has never run for election before.

What about Marine Le Pen?

Predicted 2017 first-round vote

How much of the vote will go to the Front national in a few weeks?

Vote shares are very hard to predict under varying turnout rates, which is highly relevant in the case of the French presidential election: in the last four elections, first-round turnout has varied by -3, -7, +12 and -4 percentage points.

Furthermore, the vote shares of the candidates who made it to round 2 have also been highly variable: 21/23 in 1995, 20/17 in 2002, 31/26 in 2007, and 27/27 in 2012. Barring the 2002 vote share of Le Pen, all of those shares are within the 21-31% range, which is already wide—and if you find no good reason to discard Le Pen 2002, the range of vote shares grows to 17-31%, which definitely says something about the difficulty of predicting electoral results.

With these known unknowns in mind, my prediction is that, with – at the very least – 7 million expected votes in the first round of the presidential election, Marine Le Pen is highly likely to make it to the second round of the election, with a vote share of – at the very least – 19%. I get to that vote share by computing

V = F / ( E × T )

where F are the 7 million votes for the Front national in the second round of the regional elections, E is an electoral body of 45.2 million voters (estimated from the 2015 regional election), and T an expected turnout of 80%.

The estimate above is excessively conservative, because it is estimated from a fixed number of Front national voters that is far below the size of its potential electorate on the presidential election. To fix that, let’s have

V = ( F × βT ) / E

where F now stands for the 6 million votes for the Front national in the first round of the regional elections, βT is a multiplier of 1.6 that accounts for the expected difference in turnout (from 50% to 80%), and E is unchanged.

That formula returns a vote share of 21%. Independently, my dear occasional co-blogger Joël has made a (much better informed) first-round prediction of a Front national vote share within the 21-28% range, and other vote specialists seem okay with that estimate.

What tends to make estimates above 20% credible is the current predicament of the right-wing candidate, and the fact that the Front national has been generally considered to perform better on presidential elections than on intermediary ones. Recent intermediary elections, however, might have been highly successful for the Front national precisely because that pattern is less true today.

Predicted 2017 second-round vote

It makes little sense to produce second-round estimates before getting first-round results, but the second-round results of previous intermediary elections are, again, useful to anticipate how the 2017 presidential election will play out.

In the second round of the 2015 regional elections, left-wing and right-wing coalitions respectively scored 8 million and 10 million out of 26.5 million voters, with turnout being slightly below 60%—20 percentage points less than presidential-election second rounds.

If the second round of the presidential election includes either a left-wing or a right-wing candidate, that candidate should therefore be able to get between 9.3 and 13 million voters from his own ranks, assuming that voters have fairly stable preferences and a turnout approaching 80%. Therefore, in order to win the election on her own, Marine Le Pen would need to find at least 30% more voters than she has ever had so far.2

Something pretty unusual would be required for that to happen, and the most likely of those rare events might be a split of the right-wing Republicans party into two factions, one of which would coalesce with the Front national on round 2.3

The likelihood of that last scenario is, in my view, a good estimate of how likely it is that the Front national will be able to win the presidential election later this year. To be clear, I am talking of a really low likelihood, although one that has probably increased as of late.

The likelihood of such an event is low because the frontmen of the French right-wing are just not interested in ruling through an Austrian-style “blue-black” coalition. There would need to be a transformative event in French politics for that situation to change.

Last remarks

My highly unoriginal prediction is that the Front national will be on the second round of the French presidential election, but will then lose to whoever it faces. What is that prediction worth?

Not much, but surely more than the strange error-correction bias that is leading many people to believe that, because the establishment was betting against Brexit and Trump, then surely all bets are off in the French presidential election. Unlike the two major unforeseen outcomes of 2016, the French presidential election has two rounds and can be compared with many past data points. That, alone, should suffice to invalidate what is already a very flawed comparison of events.4

It is, however, correct to observe that were the Front national to win the French presidential election, then what would follow would be some kind of a “Trump-style” transition of power, with the party struggling to build a functional governmental apparatus, by which I mean: forming a stable and loyal legislative majority, and gathering bureaucratic support from top civil servants to run its administration. The Front national currently has none of the resources required to do any of that, and therefore to govern.5

Under the likely scenario of the Front national losing in the presidential election but making important gains in the legislative elections, I will have to update my comment with notes on what to expect next. It will have to do with the strategy of the Front national, which, under Marine Le Pen, has been trying to win enough votes to win on second rounds. That strategy has been successful so far, but there is still a gaping 30% of voters to shift towards the Front national for that strategy to reach its end-goal: the French presidency.

Since that shift might never occur, several Front national figures, such as Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, are instead suggesting to go for local alliances with right-wing Republican dissidents, under the “union des droites” scenario that is already working well in some parts of Southern France. The “Marion strategy” is local, short-term and guaranteed to work to some reasonable extent: in contrast, the global, long-term “Marine strategy” described above might never succeed.6

Further reading

If you can read French, you should be reading Joël’s book on the Front national, or read his media papers: see, e.g., this radio show, these Mediapart articles (subscription required), and two articles published by Le Monde diplomatique: one on the North/South geography of the Front national vote, and one on the front républicain strategy mentioned in this post.

Two related readings that I would like to recommend on populism and populist parties in Europe are Perry Anderson’s essay “Why the system will still win,” published this month in the English edition of Le Monde diplomatique, and Cas Mudde’s 2012 Stein Rokkan lecture, “Three decades of populist radical right parties in Western Europe: So what?

Last, I do not read much from Arthur Goldhammer‘s French Politics blog – there are simply too many daily posts for me to be able to follow –, but I know that he does a stellar job at covering the topic. Following a few of his early-March links, I ended up on the brilliantly titled Arun With A View, and found that post: “Marine Le Pen: can she win?” Make it your next stop for some earlier –and, in my opinion, much wilder– electoral predictions about the 2017 French presidential election.

Update, 7 March 2017: added a few links, removed a few words. You might also want to listen to former Prime Minister Alain Juppé explaining why he will not replace Fillon as the right-wing candidate: see this blog post, this article, and the press conference itself.

  1. There are many kinds of intermediary/local elections, but I will focus only on those that took place in 2015 at the county (canton/département) and regional levels. The Front national performed extremely well in the French EU elections of 2014, but turnout is so low in those elections that I prefer to discard information based on such small numbers of votes. Similarly, I prefer to discard the 2014 municipal elections because I find them to be more “granular” (read: personalised), and would therefore need more data than I care to look at. Last, I will not be looking at by-elections because I do not have the adequate data at hand, but they would be, of course, relevant to paint a more accurate picture of post-2012 voting patterns, and of second-round vote shifts especially. []
  2. That estimate discards the still-likely scenario that Marine Le Pen would be facing Emmanuel Macron in the second round. I do not know what to make of that scenario, since I cannot resolve myself to imagine how Macron would go from having no electoral base to, all of a sudden, having enough votes to get past the first round. If my prediction goes wrong, I expect the error to be related to that blind spot, but in all honesty, I cannot see how a banker – a banker! have you ever talked about bankers with anyone earning less than the median wage? – would magically flip French politics on its head. []
  3. The Republicans Party already hosts both elected officials and voters who are, in effect, indistinguishable from their Front national equivalents. This article about Philippe de Villiers shows how porous the frontier currently is between the French right-wing and far-right, a state of affairs for which there is also tons of non-anecdotal evidence. []
  4. Just consider the British case: Brexit, which never polled so bad as to become a completely unlikely outcome, is only the last of many electoral surprises, if you consider the results of the last general election and the nomination of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. The fact that Britain now operates a multi-party system has likely taken its toll on electoral prediction. If you really want to draw parallels between France and the UK, then you might want to equate Hamon’s primary election to Corbyn’s—but the comparison stops right there. []
  5. This recent op-ed by the French ambassador to Japan very eloquently makes my point. []
  6. On these two strategies, see the excellent documentary “Marine Le Pen, la dernière marche ?” that aired on French TV channel France 3 in January of this year. []

Annals of Youtube Science 1(4) : Big Data

Jusqu’à présent, à chaque fois que j’ai parlé de « big data » sur ce blog, ça s’est mal terminé. Le concept est élusif, et en science politique, la base de données qui ressemble à du « big data » a de sérieux soucis (la version corrigée est en cours de développement).

Ces réserves ne signifient évidemment pas que l’expression « big data » ne recouvre rien du tout : il y a d’excellents exemples de « big data« , notamment en biologie cellulaire et en linguistique. De là à savoir s’il y a une science qui accompagne l’analyse de ces données… c’est compliqué, mais cette conférence de Robert Grossman, donnée en 2013 à l’Université de Chicago, met les points sur les « i » :

Robert Grossman dirige le Center for Data Intensive Science de l’Université de Chicago, et le fondateur de l’Open Data Group. Les exemples de « big data » qu’il cite sont liés à sa discipline d’origine, la médecine, qui est susceptible de devenir une science assez différente de ce qu’elle est aujourd’hui si l’on parvient à séquencer non pas mille mais un million de génomes, par exemple.

La conférence provient de la chaîne Youtube de l’Université de Chicago, et plus particulièrement de sa série Uncommon Core, où l’on trouvera tout un tas de conférences sur des sujets aussi variés que les origines de l’islam (par Fred Donner) ou les implications de l’open data pour le gouvernement des espaces urbains (que je n’ai pas regardé en entier, mais l’intention y était).

Sur le même thème

Sur le même thème, la journée d’étude « Science XXL. Ce que l’abondance et la diversité des données font aux sciences sociales« , déjà citée il y a un bail, se rapproche — pensez à vous inscrire et à réserver vos 16-17 mars !

Voir aussi la même annonce chez Arthur Charpentier.

Women Also Know Stuff, édition personnelle 2017/02

La suite de ce billet. Édition précédente : 2017/01. Les règles de cette série de billets se précisent : tous les liens pointent vers des textes ou des morceaux de musique composés par des femmes (ou co-composés par au moins une femme, dans le cas des compositions multi-auteurs). Chaque billet de la série est publié à la fin du mois et contient 10 items, plus une « mention spéciale » (spéciale en quoi ? je ne sais toujours pas). Les domaines couverts sont variés, mais vu ce que je lis et j’écoute, attendez-vous à de la science politique (évidemment), de l’analyse de données1, et de la musique bizarre.

  1. Emily Barry, « Applying Data Science to the Supreme Court: Topic Modeling Over Time with NMF (and a D3.js bonus) » :

    barry-scotus-topics

  2. Jenny Andersson et Egle Rindzeviciute, « The Political Life of Prediction. The Future as a Space of Scientific World Governance in the Cold War Era » :

    This working paper explores the role of the future as a space of scientific exchange and dialogue in the Cold War period. We argue that in East and West the governance of the future were understood as both intellectual and technical problem that, importantly, challenged existing notions of the nature of liberal democratic and communist political regimes. Casting the future as a governable sphere led to the development of new forms of scientific governance which sought explicitly to depoliticize the future and turn it into a new transnational domain of technocratic politics. The paper focuses on the parallels and exchanges among American and Soviet futurologists. East-West collaboration was essential to the invention of the future as a governable technoscientific space, situated beyond political dispute.

  3. Daphne Oram2, Andrea Parker3 et Daz Quayle, « Are You There? » (Live from the Roundhouse), tiré de Private Dreams And Public Nightmares (2011) :

  4. Valerie J. Bunce et Mark R. Beissinger, « Taking Democracy for Granted » (sur l’excellent blog collectif Duck of Minerva, qui devrait plaire à tous les lecteurs de Crooked Timber et de The Monkey Cage) :

    … The costs of nationalist tropes for democracy are many. They give candidates a license to avoid talking about policy. They silence the opposition, since it cannot possibly come out against the nation. They sow divisions among the public. But perhaps their greatest danger is that they give rise to the demand for strong leadership—leaders who will do anything to defend the nation from its enemies.

    To those who view American politics as exceptional, Trump is an anomaly that is difficult to explain. To us, his politics are disconcertingly familiar.

  5. Katharina A. Zweig, Network Analysis Literacy. A Practical Approach to the Analysis of Networks (Springer, 2016) — un bouquin qui clarifie l’analyse de réseaux par le biais des modélisations complexes parues ces dernières années. Fort utile.

  6. Elisabeth S. Clemens : What is Political Sociology? (Wiley, 2016). Ayant lu quelques-uns des articles de l’auteur, je m’attends à une excellente synthèse couvrant un énorme spectre spatio-temporel, à la Sewell.

    Note : j’ai reçu, depuis la rédaction de ce billet, ma copie de l’ouvrage, et je ne suis pas déçu. Comme prévu, c’est une vaste mais brève synthèse de la sous-discipline.

  7. DJ Mutamassik (et Spit), « Complicity (M28 Mix)« , remix déjanté d’une chanson d’Arto Lindsay, sur l’excellent album d’illbient Hyper Civilizado (1996) :

    L’album de Mutamassik Symbols Follow (2015), où celle-ci joue tous les instruments, vaut aussi le détour si vous aimez l’ambient expérimental façon Nobukazu Takemura, qui reste le maître absolu, inégalé et inégalable du genre.

  8. Amelia Tait : « The Movie That Doesn’t Exist and the Redditors Who Think It Does » – sur un phénomène qui peut paraître invraisemblable, mais qui est bien connu des chercheurs faisant des entretiens sur des faits distants : le cerveau humain fabrique de très intéressants souvenirs de faits n’ayant jamais existé.

  9. Lucie Beraud-Sudreau et Hugo Meijer, « Enjeux stratégiques et économiques des politiques d’exportation d’armement. Une comparaison franco-américaine » (Revue internationale de politique comparée, 2016) :

    […] Cet article propose un schéma explicatif [montrant] que le poids relatif des considérations stratégiques et économiques dans l’élaboration des politiques d’exportation d’armes dépend, sur le plan international, du positionnement de l’État dans la hiérarchie mondiale des producteurs d’armement et, sur le plan national, du degré de dépendance à l’exportation de son industrie de défense. Cette typologie est ensuite testée à travers une comparaison des politiques américaine et française d’exportation d’armement, à partir d’entretiens réalisés à Washington D.C. et à Paris et de câbles diplomatiques fuités par Wikileaks. […]

  10. Anoushka Shankar, « Red Sun« , de l’album Rise (2005) :

Mention spéciale : Fernanda Martins, l’une des rares femmes dans le sous-genre hard techno/schranz, qui est quasi-exclusivement dominé par des hommes (Kvitta, Liebing, Natus, Ranieri, Rush). Le mix ci-dessous a été réalisé avec Sheefit, a.k.a Gabriela Mariano, la moitié féminine du duo de hard techno Motormorfoses.

  1. Généralement avec R, parfois avec Python. []
  2. Une pionnière du genre (synthétiseurs et musique concrète). Mon billet de 2016 en cite d’autres. []
  3. Oui, c’est la même que dans l’édition 2017/01. []

Magrit, une interface de cartographie thématique en ligne

Un outil qui fera date :

Le thème de la cartographie revient périodiquement sur ce blog : je n’y connais rien et me contente de bricolages approximatifs, mais Joël s’y connaît beaucoup, beaucoup plus, et produit régulièrement de très chouettes résultats cartographiques.

Nous avons tous les deux été impressionnés – et comme le montrent les premiers retours sur les listes de diffusion, nous ne sommes pas les seuls – par la qualité de Magrit, qui permet de faire de la cartographie thématique depuis une interface interactive très bien documentée. Les résultats sont proches de ceux que permet d’obtenir le package cartography, et pour cause, c’est en partie la même équipe qui produit les deux outils.

Plus de détails sur le site de l’UMS RIATE, où officie Timothée Giraud, que je suspecte d’être le gentil organisateur des deux communautés de développeurs du package cartography d’un côté, de Magrit de l’autre.

Exemple de carte tirée de la galerie Magrit :

À suivre sur Hypothèses

La plateforme Hypothèses est définitivement the place to be pour suivre ce qui se fait en cartographie avec R (et d3.js, et autres trucs associés). Je vous conseille :