What words marked the presidential campaign? Answer with the analysis of the speeches of the candidates by “The Weight of Words” and the data of Google Trends on the queries of Internet users in Google.
Is the 2017 presidential campaign the worst in the history of the Fifth Republic? Marked by business, punctuated by terrorist attacks, crowned by acrimonious debate, it has undoubtedly been much more turbulent than recent campaigns. Our application “The Weight of Words”, which allows the precise counting of the words spoken by the candidates since January 30 (the day after the second round of the socialist primary), allows us to see how the speeches of the candidates have been marked by this climate. deleterious.
Our partner Google Trends brings a unique addition to this discourse analysis. Thanks to the data made available by the Google News Lab France, we are able to compare the number of occurrences of a word in political discourse with the interest it has aroused among Internet users of Google search. So sometimes it is the candidates who capture current events in their political discourse, sometimes it is they who create interest in a word. Here are some of those results.
Where does the data come from? The screenshots below are taken from the web application “The Weight of Words”, developed by Paris Match. The number of occurrences of a word in candidates’ speeches is displayed day by day. Since January 30, 231 interventions – meetings, radio and television broadcasts, interviews in the written press – have been integrated into our database. More than 1.3 million words were analyzed in this way. On the dedicated page, our readers can carry out a search themselves to find the occurrences and sources of the words of the five main candidates.
Google Trends makes it possible to represent the evolution of interest in a keyword over time by quantifying the volume of queries in the search engines of Google, Google News and YouTube. The index 100 represents the maximum volume of searches on a subject during a period and in a geographical area. The data made available to Paris Match by the Google News Lab France is calculated from a representative sample of all searches carried out in France.
Penelope Fillon in the heart of the countryside despite herself
The “Penelope affair” broke out, in the columns of the “Chained Duck”, just before January 30, the date which marks the start of our period of analysis. The initial impact of the first articles is therefore not measured by our data. Nevertheless, its multiple twists burst into the campaign. In Google user queries for the word “Pénélope”, the peak was reached on February 2, 2017. That day, a report by “Envoyé Spécial” was broadcast in which the wife of François Fillon appeared on a video dating from 2007, where she claims she never worked for her husband. The candidates themselves did not pronounce the first name of the Fillon wife. Only François Fillon himself did it, especially during a press conference: “Penelope has never claimed a role in the light. She exercised in discretion, ”he assures on February 6.
On Sunday March 12, our colleagues from the “JDD” reveal that François Fillon received as a gift at least two costumes from the Arnys house for an amount of 13,000 euros. Cash payments, mentioned in “Le JDD” for an amount of 35,500 euros, are disputed by the candidate. The publication of the article causes a spike in interest in Google queries for the word “costumes”. The candidate Fillon, he addresses the question on Europe 1 the next day, Monday March 13. He will pronounce the word “costumes” five times on the set of “L’Emission politique” on France 2, on March 23, in particular in front of the writer Christine Angot, during an extremely tense exchange. Some of his opponents will also pronounce it, like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who, in response to a question from Jean-Jacques Bourdin, indicates on RMC BFMTV the address of the store where he buys his.
The traditional sponsorship race
The sponsorship race, a stage in the process of nominating candidates for the election, has aroused less suspense this year than during previous presidential elections. The National Front, usually quick to deplore the difficulties in gathering the 500 signatures necessary to validate a candidacy, hardly showed up this time. Marine Le Pen even let it be known that she would grant her sponsorship to Henri Guaino, Nicolas Sarkozy’s former adviser, who was ultimately unable to be a candidate. The sovereigntist François Asselineau, on the other hand, created the surprise by bringing together the necessary sponsorships. In the first round, he won only 0.92% of the vote, or 332,588 votes. The same goes for Jean Lassalle, who does a little better, with 1.21% of the vote.
Attack at Orly
On Saturday March 18, a man manages to seize the automatic rifle of a soldier on patrol at Orly airport. He is shot. The peak of searches in Google for the word “Orly” logically occurs the same day, when the country discovers the images of the evacuated terminal. The candidates for the presidential election did not bounce back immediately, with the exception of Marine Le Pen, who, at a meeting in Metz the same day, assured from the first minutes of her speech that the event validated her analyses: “The cowardice of the entire political class in the face of Islamist fundamentalism, the only course of action for 15 years that this scourge has prospered, this cowardice has produced the results that we know, that we still see today at Orly.
Parliamentary immunity versus “worker immunity”
The word “immunity” marked the presidential campaign, firstly because Marine Le Pen chose to assert her parliamentary immunity in order not to respond to the summonses of the judges in the case concerning the parliamentary assistants of the National Front in the European Parliament. On March 2, however, his parliamentary immunity was lifted for another matter, related to the posting of violent images on his Twitter account to supposedly “denounce Daesh”. The subject experienced a marked resurgence of interest on April 5, the day after the first debate between the 11 candidates. It was on that day that Philippe Poutou, candidate of the NPA, apostrophized the president of the FN deploring the absence of a “worker’s immunity”, a formula which marked the program whose video generated thousands of views on the internet.
Daesh tries to disrupt the campaign
The terrorist group, which claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in London on March 22, also claimed responsibility for the April 20 attack on the Champs-Elysées, Paris, when a police officer was shot dead by a gunman. with an ultra-violent background. The same evening, on France 2, the 11 candidates speak one after the other in “Fifteen minutes to convince” four days before the first round. Google searches for the term “Daesh” peaked the following day, April 21. As for the candidates, it was Marine Le Pen who most cited the name of the terrorist organization. She said it eight times in a few minutes during an interview on LCP on March 2, to justify that she published propaganda images broadcast by Daesh, a fact for which her parliamentary immunity was lifted.
Guyana is on fire
With a general strike launched on March 27, the social conflict in Guyana has become one of the key issues in the presidential campaign. An agreement was finally signed on April 21. On Google, searches for the word “Guyana” were the most numerous at the beginning of the outbreak of the general strike. If the candidates cite the department before the start of the movement, especially when they go there during their campaign trips, it is then not to address the issues that will be the subject of specific demands from the strikers.
A country has been regularly cited by all the candidates in the presidential election since January 30, it is “Syria”. However, Internet users did not search for it massively in Google until April 7, the date of the bombardment decided by American President Donald Trump. This attack is a retaliatory measure to the chemical attack of April 4, which killed 87 people, and for which the French intelligence services – among others – believe that the regime of Bashar el-Assad is responsible. The presidential candidates then talk about it to denounce the horror of the chemical attack, but also for some, including Marine Le Pen, to review their judgment about Donald Trump and his policy. Before this episode, they mention Syria mainly in the context of the issue of the return of French jihadists. “Those who left to do jihad in Syria or Iraq will not have to come back because they will lose French nationality as permitted by law”, proposed François Fillon on February 15 in Compiègne.
An evening at the Rotunda
By choosing to spend part of the evening of the first round at the Rotonde, a brasserie located boulevard du Montparnasse in Paris, Emmanuel Macron created controversy. Unsurprisingly, it was the next day, Monday April 24, that requests for the word “Rotonde” exploded in Google. Emmanuel Macron, he believes he has made no mistake. From April 25, on France 2, he rejected all criticism: “No regrets, I totally assume and I will always assume. It will not be the diktat of a sad self-righteousness that will tell me where I must go.
To read : Our interview with Emmanuel Macron
Marine Le Pen, however, does not fail to constantly recall this episode. She said the word nine times between rounds. “La Rotonde, his own Fouquet’s”, she said on April 27 in Nice in a reference to the evening at Fouquet’s after Nicolas Sarkozy’s victory in 2007. Emmanuel Macron “celebrated his victory at the Rotonde with the left caviar and the old glories of moralizing showbiz”, she insisted again on the 1er May during its meeting in Villepinte. She comes back to it again during the debate on May 3.
Whirlpool, scene of the Macron-Le Pen duel
The day of April 26 turns to political comedy. While Emmanuel Macron is traveling to Amiens, where he meets the representatives of the employees of the Whirlpool factory, about to be relocated to Poland, Marine Le Pen goes to the parking lot of the industrial site where she greets the workers in front of a few cameras. Emmanuel Macron then goes there, where he hardly dialogues with angry employees. The duel, followed minute by minute by the cameras of the streaming news channels, generates a spike in queries for the word “Whirlpool” in Google. The next day, in the Gard and then the Alpes-Maritimes, Marine Le Pen prides herself on having broached a subject that Emmanuel Macron preferred to keep quiet. “Whirlpool, he didn’t talk about it during his entire campaign. I spoke about it almost at each of my meetings, ”she said to Grau-du-Roi. In fact, the data of the “Weight of words” show that the candidate pronounces the word for the first time on February 9, on France 2.
To read : Our interview with Marine Le Pen
The candidate of En Marche!, he assumes his approach. “Madame Le Pen made a communication move by coming to a parking lot,” he said on TF1 on April 27. “Whirlpool is a group that is doing well, which has distributed generous dividends. The responsibility of the State is not to approve (…) a social plan which would not meet the legitimate expectations of employees”, adds the former Minister of the Economy. During the in-between rounds, he repeatedly rejected the proposal made by Marine Le Pen to nationalize the dryer manufacturing plant. “It’s to hold the ribs,” he said even on May 3, during the televised debate. The strike ends two days before the second round, when Whirlpool employees sign an agreement with management.