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an executive very attentive to the moods of public opinion

There are more instructive questions than the answers they call for. Particularly when it comes to polls commissioned by the executive to inquire about the opinion of the French. “Do you think [qu’un événement analogue à l’invasion du Congrès américain par les partisans du candidat perdant, Donald Trump] could arise in France following an election? » Regarding ” resignation [du ministre de l’intérieur] Gérard Collomb, would you say that it weakens (…) the president of the Republic ? » Is Edouard Philippe “a man of the right” ?

These questions appear, among thousands of others, in the approximately 300 surveys commissioned between June 2017 and March 2021 by the government information service (GIS) and whose The world got the copy, end of February.

Questions about current events, prospecting for future bills, soundings about the image of power… These confidential studies, hitherto never published, retrace, implicitly, the obsessions and concerns of an executive particularly concerned of the perception of its image and its action.

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Ten days before the first round of the presidential election, they also tell of the appetite for feedback from a power which, by dint of cultivating verticality, has partly cut itself off from other thermometers to measure the state of mind of the French, such as local elected officials or trade unions.

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The numbers speak for themselves. GIS expenditure on surveys rose from €1.4 million in 2017, to €1.9 million in 2018, then to €3.3 million in 2019 – almost half of which was used to analyze the contributions of the great national debate.

In 2020, the bill amounted to 2.6 million euros, nearly 40% of which was due to the Covid-19 epidemic, and that – not yet known – for the following year, should be even higher: between January and September 2021, 2.1 million euros had already been spent, 20% of which related to the health crisis. Amounts all the more colossal that they do not include listening and analysis of social networks, gathered in a market allowing expenses up to 2.8 million euros per year.

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Under François Hollande, spending on surveys had stabilized around 2 million per year, and the day before on social networks did not exceed 600,000 euros annually. But it is the previous mandate, that of Nicolas Sarkozy, which serves both as a reference and as a foil in the matter. Between 2007 and 2012, the Elysée directly spent 9.4 million euros, in addition to the ten million euros of surveys ordered by the GIS.

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