French Election ‘17: April 18-19

Note: This analysis was done prior to the terrorist attack in Paris on April 21st.

Introduction

Right Relevance provides a Relevance-as-a-Service (RaaSInsights offering that combines the Right Relevance Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making.

This summary analysis is part of a series of reports Right Relevance is releasing for the French Presidential Election 2017. Below are links to 2 previous reports:

Data & Duration

The report leverages tweets sampled from April 18-19 and along with Right Relevance topics, topical communities and articles form the basis for the analysis.

The phrases used for gathering tweets are: “frenchelection”, “frenchelections”, “french election”, “france election”, “#france2017”, “#Presidentielle2017”, “#Frexit”, “Fillon”, “FrancoisFillon”, “Le Pen”, “LePen”, “MarineLePen”, “#Marine2017”, “#hamon2017”, “Hamon”, “BenoitHamon”, “macron”, “#macron2017”, “Melenchon”

Most of the summary report is extracted from the analysis collateral in the form of:

  1. Tableau Online Dashboard: Visualizes graph analysis results via charts and tables. Insights include top flocks, trending terms, hashtags, Users/accounts, related RR topics, tweets and several other measures. Faceting is supported per flock, RR topic and Twitter/RR account.
  2. Gephi Communities Graph Visual: Extracts are shown below.

For access to the complete graphs please send email to biz@rightrelevance.com.

Who’s Leading Into the Vote

We use the Retweets-only communities graph (Fig 1) since it is much better at bringing out differences in polarized events like elections.

Figure 1: Retweets-only Graph

Zoomable clickable link here.

Clear communities can be seen for the 5 main candidates; Fillon (blue, top right), Marine Le Pen (yellow, bottom right), Macron (green, left/center-top), Melenchon (orange, left/center-bottom) and Hamon (red, extreme left) with 2 interesting communities (purple and dark green) that we’ll discuss later.

Points of Note:

  • Left-Right split is fairly obvious in the graph.
  • Right itself is neatly split into Fillon and Marine Le Pen (MLP) communties.
  • Big overlaps around the center and left with large mixing of colors (representing communities) show lack of conviction and very likely represent substantial number of undecided voters.

Who leading?:

Our analysis shows Macron and Fillon leading on Twitter with Marine Len Pen (MLP) and Melenchon following. Melenchon seems to have caught up substantially from previous analysis to be neck to neck with MLP. Hamon has been relegated to a distant uncompetitive 5th.

Undecided voters esp. towards the left and center, similar to the previous 2 analysis reports, continue to show up as a significant factor making outright prediction esp. for Macron & Melenchon tough. Strong Melenchon showing would hurt Macron significantly. Apathy leading to undecided voters not turning up would lead to stronger showing for the right, benefitting Fillon and MLP.

Undecided Voters

Media and undecided voters (mixed merging colors) take up a large portion of the center and left of center of the graph with no clear conviction. This is a problem for left-center candidates esp. Macron and Melenchon as the voters can either choose to stay away or split more equally giving both Fillon and MLP an edge.

 

Figure 2: Media, Undecided Voters & Macron

Emmanuel Macron

Macron’s core community, as seen in Fig 2, lies towards the top of the green. Rest seems to be a mix of media, who’re generally towards the center so intermingled with his community as he is the centrist candidate, and undecided voters. He has the largest flock but after the early interest and inroads he doesn’t seem to have made much progress. If we remove the most obvious of media and undecided voters from the center, his support becomes fairly similar in size to Marine Le Pen and Melenchon.

A core problem of his campaign, highlighted heavily in the first debate and continuing to be a problem seems to be a clear lack of independent ideas and agenda. On the left he seems to be losing ground to the heavy populism of Melenchon.

Figure 3: Macron lack of clear agenda Tweet

Jean Luc Melenchon

Since the first debate analysis, support for Melenchon has nearly doubled by our metrics. This is a substantial increase. Melenchon’s no holds barred style and language, heavy populism, somewhat anti-Europe stance brings him closer to Bernie Sanders, Trump, Leave (Brexit) and MLP zone with strong youth support.

Couple of high engagement tweets in the Melenchon community, from Julian Assange, highlight the alignment (Sanders populism) and increase in popularity and support.

Figure 4: Assange Tweet close to Melenchon community

Francois Fillon

Despite the financial scandal plaguing Fillon for months, stubborn entrenched center-right support has persisted for Fillon. His community seems to be an echo chamber, with overwhelmingly more engagements internal to the community than outside. No noticeable inroads have been detected but no attrition is noticeable either.

Fillon’s fate seems to rest more on the apathy of the left-center voters and split of votes between Macron & Melenchon than his own agenda and support. Melenchon’s rise could prove to be beneficial for Fillon considering the undecided voters are mostly on the left and center. A reasonable split between Macron and Melenchon caused by Melenchon’s late surge could lead to Fillon pipping past the post by a narrow margin.

Marine Le Pen (MLP)

Marine Le Pen (MLP), representing the far right, is attempting to repeat the success of Trump and Leave (Brexit) campaigns by trying to align with them along with the far right anti-immigration esp. anti-Islamic platform. Interestingly, as in the last 2 reports, current analysis (prior to April 21st terrorist attack) isn’t showing the same quality and quantity of engagements for her as seen in those (Trump/Brexit) campaigns.

This Bloomberg article notes the social media efforts by MLP so it’s possible that we’re not seeing supportive numbers due to multiple reasons including:

  1. Potentially a large following for Marine Le Pen is older and rural and not as active on Twitter.
  2. Considering the far right nature of her platform, it’s more extreme that Trump and Brexit in many ways, leading to many supporters being less willing to express their views even online leading to large hidden vote.

The English language community (dark green) for MLP, seen in prior reports, continues to form a small but active force. How effective it is in the context of the French election, considering the language barrier, remains to be seen.

Comedy/Parody Staying Strong

The small but distinct community in purple is the comedy/parody community in the graph. It formed the most noticeably flock after the first presidential debate. Most popular tweet by far on April 18-19 shows comedy/parody has stayed strong in this election campaign.

Figure 5: Top Tweet

Conclusion

Assuming our MLP analysis is inaccurate due to the reasons specified above and she is a sureshot, the other spot comes down to between Fillon, Macron & Melenchon.

Melenchon’s late surge, Macron not making any real inroads after the initial excitement, the left-center support base laregely split between 2 (with Hamon/PS possibly taking a single digit vote count) and many voters on the left-center being undecided gives Fillon a chance if he can maintain his loyal support base going into Sunday April 23rd.

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