Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why Charest should be thankful he’s not facing Duceppe

The loss of a riding held by the provincial Liberals since 1985 in Monday night’s by-election is only the latest indication of Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s troubles. Released over the weekend, a poll conducted by Crop shows his Grits are on track for their worst electoral showing in over a half-century.

The rest of the article can be read on The Globe and Mail website.

I couldn't believe the results when I put Duceppe's numbers into the model. It isn't that the PQ with Duceppe would be at 49% that does it - the party has been at that level of support before. It's that they would face a seriously divided opposition.

It is, though, idle speculation. Unless something catastrophic happens, both Duceppe and Marois will lead their respective parties into the next federal and provincial election campaigns.

2 comments:

  1. I don't minimize Duceppe's popularity in Quebec - but people often seem more popular then they really are when they are not a player. Provincial politics are a very different ball game from federal politics and if Duceppe actually switched - a lot of the positive qualities people associate with him could melt away as he would suddenly have to start pronouncing himself on provincial issues etc... Remember that Charest had "off the chart" popularity as a potential Quebec Liberal leader in 1998 when he was still a federal politician. The moment he switched to the provincial scene, his numbers dropped a lot because he quickly realized that nothing in his years in federal politics could prepare him for the very different political culture in Quebec City.

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  2. Agreed, the numbers Duceppe is getting as potential PQ leader are not based on anything solid but only on an idealized image of him as an outsider to provincial politics. If he actually made the jump to provincial politics (which he's said he won't), he might very well improve the PQ's performance, but likely not as much as surveys now estimate.

    It's the same thing with this Quebec provincial poll from a few weeks ago that showed "Others" at 13%, right in the middle of heavy media coverage of an eventual new party led by François Legault. An hypothetical party may get impressive numbers when people are disappointed with the current crop of politicians, but if it were to actually start existing, reality would get into play.

    This said, I fully expect Charest to resign as Liberal leader before the next election, probably late next year. Until then the party will need to groom a replacement, which may prove difficult because as said, nobody in his cabinet really seems premier material.

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