• According to a new survey by the BVA and Uptowns polling institute, on social networks, presidential candidates appropriate activist items.

  • Five main themes stand out: immigration, changes in purchasing power, racial discrimination, violence against women and climate change;

    but treated differently by the candidates.

  • According to the survey, social networks now play a role in putting certain topics on the agenda.

If we can learn one lesson from this presidential campaign, it is that the political debate is also played out online.

In a survey published last March, the BVA institute and the Uptowns firm showed that, on social networks, politicians have seized on some major subjects to meet the expectations of Internet users.

Among the themes of activists reused by candidates and their relatives on Twitter, five categories stand out the most: immigration (525 tweets), the evolution of purchasing power (452 ​​tweets), racial discrimination (425 tweets), violence against women (211 tweets) and climate change (195 tweets).

But what are these numbers really hiding?

"It appeared that the main themes invested by the candidates and the concerns of the French evolved mainly according to the news", note Christelle Craplet and Anthony Dos Santos, who carried out the survey for BVA.

Take, for example, the theme of violence against women – often overlooked in the debate – which ranked third among online policy concerns, according to the study.

“Current events play a huge role here.

The #MeToo wave and greater recognition of feminicides has raised awareness in society: it is now a major concern, ”recalls Christelle Craplet, director of the “Presidential 2022 – BVA” project.

Before qualifying: “But the politicians seize this subject in a sometimes opportunistic way.

During our study,

"Ensure your visibility"

From now on, social networks play a role in putting certain subjects on the agenda, notes the BVA Institute.

“At the same time, social networks feed on current events, Twitter in particular, and offer politicians the means to bring their own subjects to as many people as possible.

In a sense, we can indeed say that politicians are encouraged to publish if they want to ensure their visibility and that of their ideas,” says Anthony Dos Santos, founding partner of Uptowns.

Before emphasizing: “Several camps have also fully understood how we could now consolidate our online representation.

They no longer necessarily need journalists to convey their message loud and clear.

»

Eric Zemmour's Twitter account during the campaign was the perfect example.

“A whole job of building an ecosystem has been carried out upstream by his teams so that each message he publishes is massively retweeted by a few dozen accounts, which will generate very strong interactions in a short time”, underlines Anthony Dos Santos.

Thus, by this work of massification of interactions, the analysts notice a certain putting on the agenda of themes specific to the candidates, for example on immigration or on the values ​​of France in the case of Eric Zemmour.

Sometimes, the themes must also impose themselves on the candidates, who will have no choice but to seize them.

This is the case of purchasing power – placed as the first concern of politicians during this campaign – is used mainly by the candidate Eric Zemmour.

"The candidate focused at one point only on the theme of immigration or on the values ​​of France, he necessarily needed to broaden his spectrum if he wanted to speak to people other than his core target. which he had already conquered at the start of his campaign", emphasizes Christelle Craplet.

"No one can ignore the concerns expressed by the French on social networks in the face of soaring prices," adds Anthony Dos Santos.

A very wide use of themes

Thus, the BVA survey shows a very broad use of the main themes of the campaign.

“On the same subject, there are several ways to talk about it.

These are not the same actions and the same terms that are used.

It is therefore important to take the time to distinguish the different facets of a subject to understand why it is so high,” explains Anthony Dos Santos.

For example, if we take up the subject of violence against women, the Minister Delegate in charge of Citizenship Marlène Schiappa will communicate online rather on her action which she wishes to defend, while the deputy of La France Insoumise Clémentine Autain will decide rather to denounce the government's record and highlight a plan to fight feminicide.

further to the right,

If the same subject of violence against women seemed to find resonance between the discourse of politicians and voters online, the BVA institute nevertheless notes subjects with a much larger gap, for example on bullying at school – which mobilizes very few policies.

“This study allows us to see to what extent there are convergences or divergences on certain subjects between journalists, politicians and the general population”, underlines Christelle Craplet.

According to the latter, this observation could explain the low interest of the French for the current presidential election.

"There are big questions about abstention, especially for young people who express themselves much less at the ballot box than on other channels", notes the director of the Presidential 2022 project at BVA Opinion.

According to our interlocutors, voters could in the future get into the habit of expressing themselves other than by voting by using social networks more, by “coexisting two parallel forms of commitment”, imagines Christelle Craplet.

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The methodology used by BVA

At the start of the year, an initial BVA survey focused on how social networks were emerging as new territories for engagement.

Based on this observation, the new BVA survey, carried out in March, sought to understand whether politicians engaged in possible strategies for appropriating subjects on social networks during the presidential campaign.

"If the French tend to give less credit for treating or advancing a cause, perhaps they are more inclined to support a candidate who strives to bring it to life online," explains Anthony Dos Santos.

To do this, has selected 23 major themes for this campaign, taking into account the subjects covered by , whether they are linked to progressive or conservative issues;

but also to more traditional themes addressed by the candidates during the last campaigns.

“It is true that for traditional opinion polls, we often test generic subjects to gauge the concerns of the people we are interviewing.

There the interest was to go into more detail, to look at the themes that activists are seizing on online, for example, without forgetting the structural subjects ”, compares Christelle Craplet.

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