A polls has been published in France today which, in and of itself, means very little because it's based on a false premise.
But (and you knew there would be one) it's enough to give the current government, the Socialist party (PS) and in fact the whole of the political Left, the heebie-jeebies.
If (conditional) there were a parliamentary election in France today (and the next one isn't due until June 2017) the Left, and in particular the PS, would suffer a humiliating (to say the least) defeat.
All right, so the poll appears in Le Figaro, a national daily not exactly known for it's love of the PS and whose chairman happens to be Serge Dassault, a member of the opposition centre-right Union pour un mouvement populaire (Union for a popular movement, UMP) and a member of the Senate since 2004.
And was it was carried out by l'Institut CSA (conseil, sondage et analyse) part of the Bolloré group whose president and Chief executive officer, Vincent Bolloré, just happens to be a friend of the newly-elected leader the UMP - Nicolas Sarkozy.
But don't start reading too much into those "facts". They're just an aside as, after all, a poll is just a poll - isn't it?
It has to be both objective and representative.
So what does the Le Figaro's poll "indicate" - bearing in mind that the imaginary election is not going to happen today.
Using the current two-round majority system, the centre-right Union pour un mouvement populaire (Union for a popular movement, UMP) and the centrist Union des démocrates et indépendants (Union of democrats and independents, UDI) would win between 485 and 505 of the 577 seats in the national assembly.
"A level never obtained by the centre-right" points out Le Figaro which published the poll. "Better even than the 1993 parliamentary election results (when the two centre-right/centrist parties of the time, the Rassemblement pour la République and the Union pour la démocratie française, won 257 and 215 seats respectively)."
The far-right Front National, FN (currently with just two members of parliament) would see it numbers increase to anything from 14 to 24 seats.
And the Left - including the Socialist party, the Greens and the Front de Gauche?
Well they would have to be satisfied with between 56 and 66 seats.
|The make up of the national assembly if an election were held today (screenshot "La Nouvelle Édition" - Canal +)|
And the "debacle" for the PS would hardly be avoided (although it would be less humiliating) if a system of proportional representation were used.
UMP and UDI - between 208 and 248 seats.
The Left - (PS, Greens and Front de Gauche) - between 180 and 220 (hardly respectable...but)
FN - between 138 and 159 seats.
Draw your own conclusions as to how to interpret the figures and even the value of the (yet another) poll.
But a clearer picture will emerge next year as...guess what.
There will be elections...departmental on March 22 and 29 and regional...at some later date once the territorial reform (the proposal to reduce of the number of regions from 22 to 13 in metropolitan France) has finally been signed, sealed and delivered.