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French Paper Drops Polls

January 3 2017

French newspaper Le Parisien has announced it will no longer commission its own polls, in the run-up to the country's Presidential elections, but will rely on journalists' feedback from 'working on the ground', along with references to external surveys.

The paper's Editor-in-Chief Stephane Albouy made the revelations in an interview with France Inter radio, parts of which were published by Agence France Press. The decision is portrayed as an attempt to 'return to the heart of the profession' - more first-hand reporting - and follows 'a lot of debate'. However, according to www.mediapost.com , 'the subtext of the statement' is not hard to discern and stems from the high-profile failures of polling in elections in France, the UK, the US and elsewhere. French pollsters failed to predict the big swing behind Francois Fillon, in the conservative Republican presidential primary in November.

In the US Presidential election and in particular the UK's EU Referendum, last-minute polls in many cases said the vote would be tight, and the margin of victory likely smaller than their own margin of error - which hasn't stopped critics from saying they 'got it wrong'. It remains to be seen whether other publishers will follow suit, or whether the gut feelings of reporters will prove any more accurate (or anything like as accurate) as polls in the long-term.

All articles 2006-22 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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