Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ipsos-Descarie confirms massive PQ lead

Ipsos-Descarie, part of the Ipsos-Reid family, recently released a Quebec provincial poll taken in mid-November. It isn't without its problems, but adds fuel to the fire that Jean Charest is in a wee bit of trouble.We have no previous poll to compare this one to, so we shall look at it in isolation. Ipsos-Descarie did not distribute the undecideds, so I have done it instead. Portioning them out according to how decided voters responded, the Parti Québécois leads with 40%. The Liberals are well behind at 23%, while the Action Démocratique du Québec is doing very well at 17%.

Québec Solidaire continues to impress with 11%, while the provincial Greens are at 8%.

As my colleague on Quebec Politique points out, we haven't heard from Ipsos on Quebec for over four years. There are also a few problems with this poll.

It doesn't ask respondents which party they support, but rather "Which one of the following parties' candidates would you be most likely to support?" It is a very weird question to ask. Those aren't candidates - they are leaders.

Well, mostly. The poll included Guy Rainville as the "candidate" of the Greens and Benoit Renaud as the "candidate" of Québec Solidaire. Rainville announced his resignation in September, and Claude Sabourin was elected the new leader of the Greens on November 20, the day after this poll was out of the field. And Renaud is the official leader of the party according to Elections Quebec, though for all intents and purposes the two "spokespeople", Amir Khadir and Françoise David, are the two actual leaders. Renaud is a complete unknown. Nevertheless, it doesn't appear to have swayed responses too much, but we can't know for sure.

This was an online poll, using Ipsos-Reid's online opt-in panel. They report, however, that were this a standard random sample, the margin of error would be 2.7%.

In and around Montreal, the Parti Québécois and Liberals were tied at 33%, followed by the ADQ at 14% and Québec Solidaire at 10%.

There were no numbers for the Quebec City region, which shouldn't be too much of a surprise as the poll was conducted for Global Montreal. But in the "rest of Quebec", the Parti Québécois dominates with 46%, followed by the ADQ at 21% and the Liberals at 14%. It doesn't bode well for Liberal chances outside of the metropolis.

Among francophones, the PQ leads with 47%. The ADQ is second with 20%, while the Liberals are beating off Québec Solidaire with 14% to 12%.

Among anglophones (Ipsos-Descarie does not appear to have included allophones), the Liberals lead with a whopping 72%. The Greens are second, with 17%. The Parti Québécois garners only 1% support among anglophones. They are likely the most monolithic voting block in all of Canada.

With these polling results, the Parti Québécois would win a comfortable majority of 86 seats. The Liberals would form the Official Opposition with a bare 22 seats, while the ADQ would make some gains and win 15 seats. David and Khadir would be elected for Québec Solidaire.

The poll also asked some questions about language legislation and education. The most interesting result was for the question of whether the provincial government is doing enough to protect the French language. While 65% of francophones said the government is not doing enough, 86% of anglophones said it is. The two groups appear to be in disagreement.

This is a relatively old poll, so we can't read too much into it for the current political situation in Quebec. The PQ has been around 40% for months now, while this is the second poll to put the Liberals as low as 23%. It appears that the PQ is doing well but not as well as it could be doing, and that the second and third tier parties are benefiting. Recall that the combined vote of Québec Solidaire and the Greens in 2008 was a little less than 6%. According to this poll (and others), they are now at about 19% support, combined.