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The myth of the “censored poll”, a ritual of election campaigns

Elections
Fact-check

Les Décodeurs, France

23 May 2019, Updated: 23 May 2019

The myth of the “censored poll”, a ritual of election campaigns

According to a rumor circulating on social networks, a “censored poll” put French governing party La République en Marche (LREM) at 6% in the EU elections. The scenario is familiar.

“Macron is trying to censor a poll which puts LREM at 6%!” For several days the rumor has been doing the rounds on social networks, particularly among groups of “yellow vests” and the far right.

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The claim is backed up by no sources other than a post, since deleted, on the blog platform of news site Médiapart, and a tweet dated 11 May by an anonymous Twitter account clearly associated with the far right.

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The bosses at several polling institutes confirmed to newspaper 20 Minutes that there exists no such “confidential” survey giving these results. The latest polls put LREM at 22-23%, neck and neck with Rassemblement National, with which it is vying for first place. The pollsters point out that their work is monitored by the Commission des Sondages (a body overseeing opinion polls), and that to publish wrong polls would only damage their image.

The myth of the “censored poll” is an old chestnut of political misinformation at election time, when activists on all sides are hungry for such news. As ever, a distinction must be made between real opinion polls – to be treated with caution – and fake surveys based on the buzz generated by candidates following questions asked on social media, etc. These latter surveys have no predictive value.

Translation by Harry Bowden, VoxEurop

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