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2007 Presidential Elections: the subjects of most interest to Internet users concerning the 4 candidates leading the polls

Two candidates, F.Bayrou and J-M. Le Pen, have joined N. Sarkozy and S. Royal in our survey on the presidential elections. XiTi Monitor analyses the searches of the internet surfers and the themes signalling their interest for each of the four candidates.
  • Study carried out from 01/16/2007 to 02/25/2007
  • Perimeter: 67 current affairs/media websites
Ségolène Royal, second in terms of voting intentions with less than 8 weeks to the 1st round, is the candidate who attracts the most searches on the Web

Between 16 January and 25 February 2007, of all the visits generated by searches linked to Ségolène Royal, Nicolas Sarkozy, François Bayrou and Jean-Marie Le Pen, Ségolène Royal took up 50 visits out of 100. Nicolas Sarkozy was second with 32 visits out of 100, followed a long way behind by François Bayrou (11 visits out of 100) and Jean-Marie Le Pen (5 visits out of 100).


As in our previous study (1st to 15 January 2007), the PS candidate once again achieved the highest scores for searches generating visits to current affairs/media websites.

Let us look now at the subjects that were of most interest to Internet users for each of the four candidates over the new period…

Ségolène Royal’s private life is almost as attractive as her political ideas in Web searches

The for Internet users concerning Ségolène Royal is, quite simply, the politician in general with 41.8% of searches.

In second place, we find her programme with 15.2% des engine searches, a certain number of which are directly linked to her speech in Villepinte on 11 February 2007 (“segolene villepinte”, “segolene royal 100 propositions du pacte presidential” = segolene royal 100 proposals for the Presidential Pact).

Her private life is close behind (in 3rd position with 14.1%) and is obviously still of great interest to Internet users… Particularly her assets (“revenus de segolene royal” = segolene royal income, “royal sci”), her love life/family (“royal hollande enfants”, “segolene et françois hollande s aiment” = royal hollande children, segolene and françois hollande love each other, and other expressions concerning various rumours about the couple), or her clothes/appearance (“garde robe de segolene royal”, “segolene royal sexy”, “decollete de segolene royal” = segolene royal wardrobe, segolene royal sexy, segolene royal neck-line). In 4th and 5th position for the most popular search subjects, we find her campaign, in terms of form (her HQ, team, communication, movements…) at 9.2% and parodies (4.1%). Some of Ségolène Royal’s highly publicised statements are still popular with Internet users (on precise issues such as: Quebec, nuclear submarines, “bravitude”, Corsica, etc…, or more generally with, for example, the search for “segolene royal bourdes” = segolene royal blunders): this is the 5th most popular search subject for the candidate, equal with parodies.

The 7th most popular search subject is the media and programmes, particularly in relation to her appearance in the TF1 programme “J’ai une question à vous poser” on 19 February.


Searches relating to Nicolas Sarkozy concentrate mainly on the man, his programme and his campaign

37.9% of searches make reference to the politician in general. They particularly concern various expressions/articles mentioning Nicolas Sarkozy: his surname or surname/first name correctly spelt (“sarkozy”, “nicolas sarkozy”), the diminutive “sarko”, his name incorrectly spelt with “sarkozi” and “sarkosy”...

The 2nd centre of interest for Internet users is his programme and the political issues it raises (pensions, homosexual marriage, GMO, education, integration…) with 15.5% of engine searches.

In 3rd position we find searches relating to his campaign (11.1%). The 4th most popular search subject is the media and programmes (4.8%), mostly relating to the TF1 programme “J’ai une question à vous poser”, in which Nicolas Sarkozy took part on 5 February 2007. In 5th place, Internet users are also interested in his private life: “nicolas sarkozy premier marriage”, “nicolas sarkozy 3 enfants”, “photo sarkozy piscine” (nicolas sarkozy first marriage, nicolas sarkozy 3 children, photo sarkozy pool)…

This is followed by searches linked to his PS rival (4.1%) and searches orientated against Nicolas Sarkozy (3.4%), through requests such as “sarkozy crapaud”, “points faibles de sarkozy”, “l ennemi c est sarkozy” (sarkozy toad, sarkozy weaknesses, sarkozy is the enemy). Internet users then search to go directly on to a site or blog linked to Nicolas Sarkozy (with the words “site”, “blog” or “.fr” typed into the request).


Fewer targeted searches for François Bayrou

61.8% of searches make reference to the politician in general, i.e. nearly two-thirds. This is a much higher score than for the candidates Royal and Sarkozy: Internet users carrying out searches on François Bayrou tend to type in more general requests, less directed towards specific subjects.

The second centre of interest is François Bayrou’s programme, which attracts the most searches in engines (9.3%), with general requests such as “programme de Bayrou 2007” (Bayrou programme 2007) or targeted searches on more specific issues concerning Europe, the debt, teachers, etc.

François Bayrou’s campaign (his meetings, support committees, signatures…) comes in 3rd position with 7%. Internet users’ 4th and 5th centres of interest concern the polls (4.7%), then the media/programmes (“bayrou canal”, “bayrou M6”, “bayrou liberation”), which account for 2.6% of engine searches.

Internet users are then orientated towards information linked to sites/blogs (2.1%), then towards his private life, with only 1.8% of searches.


Jean-Marie Le Pen’s 500 signatures arouse interest...

Over half the searches (56.9%) concerning Jean-Marie Le Pen make reference to the politician in general.

The 2nd centre of interest for Internet users is his campaign with 13.3% of engine searches, more than a third of which concern the 500 signatures that are currently fuelling the debate about his candidature: “signatures le pen”, “combien manque t il de parrainage a le pen” (signatures le pen, how many sponsors does le pen still need)…

The 3rd biggest search theme is the media and programmes (4.6%), mainly linked to the 2 TV programmes “J’ai une question à vous poser” (TF1) and “100 minutes pour convaincre” (France 2). His programme and the political issues it raises come only 4th (the 2nd biggest subject for the other candidates), with requests such as “programme de jean marie le pen”, “le pen et les chasseurs”, “le pen et les etrangers” (jean marie le pen programme, le pen and the hunters, le pen and foreigners). Internet users are then interested in his private life, especially his personal assets and health. A certain number of searches concerning media blunders are also of interest: “le pen sri lanka” (referring to his appearance on TF1 when he declared that foreigners were in the majority in Kosovo and Sri Lanka), “derapage le pen” (le pen blunder).


Comparative summary of favourite themes

Irrespective of the candidate, searches concerning the political personality generate the most visits via search engines, with the highest proportion for François Bayrou (61.8%).

For the UDF candidate and the UMP candidate, their programmes and campaigns attract the next highest level of interest amongst Internet users: themes linked directly to the Presidential Elections.

As far as Ségolène Royal is concerned, although Internet users see her programme as the 2nd most interesting subject, it is details about her private life, a more futile theme, that appear in 3rd position in her searches. Unlike the three other candidates, Jean-Marie Le Pen’s programme does not appear in the top 3: his media appearances are of most interest to Internet users.


This “hit parade” of searches on the Internet is closely linked to topical events concerning the candidates, and is therefore likely to evolve in the light of political or other events concerning them and the stances they take, which should become firmer as the 1st round of the elections approaches…

We look forward to welcoming you again shortly on XiTi Monitor to observe developments in the centres of interest of Internet users concerning the candidates for the 2007 Presidential elections.


The sites concerned by the study are all general-interest current affairs and media sites monitored by XiTi. Searches carried out on the Internet via engines were selected if they contained the candidate’s name or part of the name, with any spelling mistakes. The expressions selected are not sensitive to case or accents.

We sampled the searches carried out. The size of the sample for each candidate meant that the same characteristics were retained as for the overall sample, with a level of uncertainty fixed at 5%. Precise work on the sample enabled us first of all to estimate the percentage of visits to exclude (e.g. “Royal Air Maroc” should be excluded from visits attributed to Ségolène Royal). Secondly, it enabled us to estimate the proportion of linked subjects.

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