Sunday’s French presidential election was the latest in a trend. The centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron, won by a considerably wider margin than most observers predicted, with a 32-percentage-point landslide over Marine Le Pen, larger than the 24-point margin that the final polls showed.
But the trend isn’t that center-left globalism is making a comeback — that’s too early to say.1 Instead, it’s this: When the conventional wisdom tries to outguess the polls, it almost always guesses in the wrong direction. Many experts expected Le Pen to beat her polls. Currency markets implied that she had a much greater chance — perhaps 20 percent — than you’d reasonably infer from the polls. But it was Macron who considerably outperformed his numbers instead.