Will we be able to measure the result of the Nupes on the evening of the first round of the legislative elections? While the main left-wing parties united under the banner of the “New Popular, Ecological and Social Union” (Nupes), this alliance was not recognized as “political nuance” by the Ministry of the Interior. In the circular signed on May 13 by Minister Gérald Darmanin, the grid of nuances lists separately the candidacies of La France insoumise (LFI), Europe-Ecologie-les-Verts (EE-LV), the Socialist Party (PS) and the French Communist Party (PCF ). While those from the parties and formations of the presidential majority – Renaissance, the MoDem and Horizons mainly – are grouped together within a single nuance: “Together! (Presidential Majority). A decision that had been described as “scandalous maneuver” by LFI, lending to the Ministry of the Interior the desire to “minor” the score of the left opposition, even of the“delete from results table”.
As a reminder, this color chart is a tool for the administration aimed at simplifying the presentation of the results at the end of each election. In the context of legislative elections, i.e. as many ballots as there are electoral constituencies (577), such a reading grid is necessary in order to aggregate the labels of the candidates and ultimately their scores, in the face of the diversity of the formations and political groups. While the main parties inherit their own nuance, the smaller ones are brought together in less specific nuances, some according to their position on the political spectrum – hence the “diverse far left”, “diverse left”, “diverse center “, “various right” and other “various extreme right” – others according to their ideological affiliation – “ecologists”, “regionalists”, “sovereign right”.
Strongly criticized, the grid of nuances chosen by the ministry pushed the parties forming the Nupes to seize the Council of State in summary proceedings to contest the absence of common nuance in the files of the Interior. The hearing will be held on Friday, June 3. Whatever the result, the Beauvau color chart does not prejudge the way in which the results will be presented by the media, which remain free to retain the political blocs of their choice, according to their editorial line. And in fact, the main players in the audiovisual and written press have already decided to embark on a project to report on the results of the Nupes nuance, by aggregating the scores achieved by the rebellious candidates, socialists, ecologists and communists invested by the union of the left.
If the presentation of the results was based solely on the nuances attributed by the Ministry of the Interior, it would indeed be “distorted”believes Laurent de Boissieu, political journalist for the newspaper the crossjoined by CheckNews. “But what is open to criticism is not the absence of a specific nuance for the Nupes, it is that it will not be possible to know the national result of the Nupes by a simple addition of its components”, he adds. Two nuances, in particular, make the operation more complex: the nuance “Socialist Party”, on the one hand, which mixes PS candidates invested by the Nupes and PS “dissidents” opposed to this alliance. And, on the other hand, those of the “Ecologists”, “in which the ecologists of the Nupes are drowned with all the others (Animalist Party, Ecology at the center, All united for the living…)”.
While the Nupes published a almost complete list of candidates, the newsrooms found themselves forced to build their own databases, carrying out the work of verifying affiliations and relabelling. A project which we can also specify that it does not stop at left-wing candidates, nor does it concern these elections alone. “Historically, all the interior ministries send incorrect listsexplains Nicolas Chapuis, deputy editorial director of the World. Either the ministry does not have the complete data or has not bothered to collect it, or the way of labeling does not allow the scores of the different political camps to be read correctly. Thus, during previous elections, certain corrections were already necessary: it was necessary to look at the nuance “Ecologists” to isolate the EE-LV candidates, or even to identify the dissidents to detach them from the nuance of their party.
At Worldseveral journalists from the political service and the Decoders got down to identifying the candidates for Nupes, then asked the newspaper’s correspondents in the regions to cross-check their information. “For the two main alliances, Nupes and Ensemble!, we made the choice to identify both the alliance and the political party of origin of the candidates”specifies the assistant editor of the World. A choice deemed all the more relevant, particularly with regard to the alliance of left-wing forces, “that it is possible, and even probable, that their candidates sit in separate groups” in the National Assembly. This reworked list will be used in the context of the “results pages” offered on the site of the Worldand the “results book” provided with the journal.
A less obvious approach for smaller print media structures. As the crosswhich the journalist Laurent de Boissieu himself relabeled the applications, without however having sufficient human and technical resources to exploit it. “The computer solution to instantly match the results, as they come in, with a shades grid different from that of the Ministry of the Interior, has unfortunately not been found to date”he regrets.
HAS Release, the option chosen was to display, in the results pages, all the scores of the Nupes candidates under a single color. When you click on a constituency or when you arrive on a city page, the mention Nupes may, if necessary, be displayed, next to the political nuances appearing in the flows of the Ministry of the Interior. And this thanks to the file shared by web developer and datajournalist David Libeau. Based on official data, those of Nupes and Wikipedia, but also press articles, the latter claims to have “manually checked all applications from the metropolis”. Particularity of Nupes: the national agreement does not include overseas territories and French people living abroad, districts in which local agreements have sometimes been found.
“Editorial choice of readability”
The first relay for the French to learn about the electoral results, the first two television channels, as well as the continuous news channels, will be particularly scrutinized on the evenings of the first and second rounds. On the side of France Télévisions, the arbitration leaned in favor of a presentation of the results by “political blocs” first, before entering “in the detail of the coalitions”whether that of the left or that of the presidential majority. “It’s an editorial choice of readability”says Pascal Doucet-Bon, deputy director of information in charge of strategy at France Télévisions.
During the launch of the France 2 election evening, the estimates of the national scores provided by the polling institute Ipsos will be displayed on the air. Throughout the evening, results will then be presented by constituency. “For this flow, we are dependent on the raw data from the Ministry of the Interior, but the technical service provider will be instructed to process them and bring them together by coalitions”, says Pascal Doucet-Bon. Finally, the screen will permanently display a national result in the form of a hemicycle, also “classified by blocks”.
The same logic will prevail for the programs of the France Info news channel, for the franceinfo.fr site, and for the interactive map put online on this platform. “For questions of map readability, the grouping of several parties under the same coalition – and therefore the same color – even tends to suit us”slips Pascal Doucet-Bon.
Same process for “Together!”
For the estimates released during their respective election nights, the media rely on data provided by polling institutes. Institutes that follow the same line: “We work for the media, and what listeners and viewers expect at 8 p.m. on Sunday is to know what the Nupes score is and how many seats it will have at the end of the second round”poses Jean-François Doridot, managing director of Ipsos Public Affairs, a branch responsible in particular for electoral investigations within the Ipsos institute, which collaborates with France Télévisions and Radio France.
After publication by Place Beauvau of the list of candidates, each institute launched its internal kitchen to draw up a new list including a Nupes shade. “We adjusted by hand the small details that we wanted to change from the file of the Ministry of the Interiorrecounts Vincent Thibault, director of studies at Elabe, partner of BFM TV-RMC and The Express. We have reconstituted the Nupes group, to be able to give figures on its candidates. A job that, once again, has not been confined to the united left. Vincent Thibault cites the example of candidates classified as “various right”, yet supported by the Les Républicains party. To rework the list of candidates, Elabe mobilized “during many days” four to five people. Which must have overlapped “a certain amount of information, from the parties – via their sites, their social networks – as well as from the local press”.
“We went into overdrive”, confirms Jean-Philippe Dubrulle, director of studies at Ifop. This made it possible to requalify the candidates invested by Nupes according to the following scheme: “Xxxx YYYY, candidate of the ZZZ party, supported by the New Popular Ecological and Social Union.” A similar process has, conversely, allowed polling institutes to identify the Renaissance, MoDem and Horizons candidates, hitherto united under the nuance “Together! (Presidential majority)” and therefore inseparable.