"New poll: X is the elections’ new favorite". How many times have you read or heard this sentence? During an election period, you see it everywhere, from blogs to news broadcasts to the most serious daily newspapers. The problem is that it is often wrong, and very few people wait to see if the next poll will deny the status of the new "favorite" candidate X.
What matters is not so much the isolated values but rather the average of these values. In other words, paying more attention to a survey because it upsets the hierarchy can be misleading. Giving too much weight to an outlier amounts to making an abusive inference. It amounts, for instance, to concluding that the average price of a croissant in France is €0.15, just because we saw one €0.15 croissant in one bakery.
However, an outlier has a purpose. It helps candidates instill a campaign narrative "too close to call"; the challengers conclude that "nothing is lost", and the favorite that "nothing is played". It's classic: motivate the crowds with arguments that are often more emotional than factual. Therefore, cherry-picking data that support your ideas is a very effective trick.
This is not what we are doing here. Our desire to create PollsPosition began with a simple observation: French political journalism, and more broadly the political debate, is not factual enough. Theoretical and editorial, it is intellectually stimulating but often uses logical arguments rather than factual ones. Therefore, there are fewer excuses for not using the statistical and computational tools that are at our disposal in order to sort between random noise and signal. Words need numbers - and vice versa.
Therefore, our objective is simple: facilitate discussions in a numerical, factual and impartial way. We use statistical methods, as well as the methods and results of economic and social science research to clarify political, economic and international topics, and to calculate forecasts. Our polling aggregator is the first stone of this building block and is designed to question, through numbers, stories told by our politicians.
Finally, PollsPosition does not shy away from demanding topics, because it knows that any open-minded citizen can understand any theme - provided that it is properly explained. Our style is accessible and educational. To explain and predict. For a more informed debate. To end political fiction.
Who we are
Three citizens concerned with the proper functioning of the French democratic debate. The media is particularly important in the political debate scene, responsible for relaying the candidates' words in a critical manner all the while trying to elevate the discussion, to develop citizens’ critical thinking and to attract the maximum audience in order to survive in a financially tense environment. These are complex, contradictory but crucial objectives because the quality of the political debate depends on the quality of the press - and its audience.
We are trying to contribute to this building in perpetual construction, by using the scientific method and the results of the research - through methodological rigor, but also by our conviction that the academic, journalistic and political worlds should communicate better. Passionate about statistics and data science, we want to apply these quantitative methods to political and electoral issues, in order to better understand them.
Ph.D. student in economics at the Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique (X-ENSAE), Bérengère graduated from HEC Paris and the APE master from the Paris School of Economics. Interesting fact, sweets hold no secrets for her - absolutely none. Alexandre is a political scientist, keen on electoral probabilities and Bayesian statistics . Prior to creating PollsPosition, he co-wrote Geopolitics of the United States (PUF, 2016) with Thomas Snégaroff. He is a graduate of HEC Paris and the Department of Political Science of the Freie Universität Berlin. The theater is his passion and chocolate his most faithful companion.
Finally, Alexis is a doctor of economics at the École des Ponts et Chaussées. Graduate of the ENS Ulm and the APE master of the Paris School of Economics, he founded a startup specializing in the construction of decision support tools for public actors seeking to anticipate the impact of their policies in the field of energy. In perfect agreement with PollsPosition's spirit, Alexis is also a formidable zetetician !
Simply put, we try to focus on Cartesian doubt, to be both judge and teacher. Like Aristotle at the School of Athens, we try to look at concrete numbers every time Plato points us to the Heavens of Ideas.
Write (for) us
Questions about polls, elections, our aggregators? Do you want to write for us? Or do you want to contribute in other ways? Write to us and send us your ideas! We are always listening.