Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bloc leads in Quebec City, all Conservative seats at risk in Segma poll

A new poll by Segma Recherche for Le Soleil shows that the Bloc Québécois is ahead in the Quebec City region. And thanks to some riding polls, we can say that anywhere from two to five Conservative seats are at risk of going over to the Bloc - that is, unless the Tories fund a new arena for the city.This telephone poll pegs the Bloc at 37% support in the region, up seven points from the 2008 election. The Conservatives are down nine points to 29%, while the Liberals are down one to 15%. The New Democrats are steady at 11%, not the 20% or so that CROP and Léger have found to be the case.

Again, methodology seems to be the difference maker here when it comes to the NDP in Quebec.

The poll shows that the Tories are not even secure in their "fortress" of Quebec City. But, the poll (quite excellently) asks how voting intentions might change if the Conservatives decide to fund the planned hockey arena for the city.

The Conservatives could potentially put all five of their seats in the region at risk if they don't fund it. Fully 23% of Conservative supporters in and around Quebec City would vote for another party if the funding doesn't come. That would drop the Conservatives to only 22%, and likely mean they would be swept from the city.

However, if they fund the arena 24% of people planning to vote for one of the other parties would switch to the Conservatives. Assuming they keep the support they currently have, that would bump them up to 46% in the city and almost certainly mean a sweep of all seven ridings.

The poll's breakdown by riding puts into perspective what is at stake for the Conservatives.These riding polls have a margin of error of 9.8 points, meaning that four of the seven have a statistical tie between the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois. The other three show a strong Bloc lead.

We'll start with Beauport-Limoilou, held by Conservative MP Sylvie Boucher. She won the riding in 2008 with 37% support to the Bloc's 33%, but this poll puts the Bloc in the lead with 43%. Boucher is 21 points behind at 22%, well outside of the margin of error. That's one seat gain for the Bloc.

In Charlesbourg - Haute-Saint-Charles, held by Conservative MP Daniel Petit, the Conservatives have a narrow seven point lead with 36%, ahead of the Bloc at 29%. The 2008 result was 41% to 29%, so it appears things haven't changed much in the riding. But with the MOE, this seat is potentially on the bubble.

Lévis - Bellechasse was won by Conservative Steven Blaney by a healthy 20 points in 2008, with 46% to the Bloc's 26%. But this poll shows an extremely close race: 33% for the Conservatives and 31% for the Bloc. Again, with the MOE this one is also on the bubble.

Lotbinière - Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, won by Conservative Jacques Gourde by a margin of 47% to 25% over the Bloc, is another close race. The Conservatives still hold the lead here, with 40% to 35%. But with a MOE of almost 10 points, this seat, too, is at risk.

Louis-Hébert, held by Bloc MP Pascal-Pierre Paillé, was won by a margin of eight points in 2008: 36% to the Tories' 28%. But the margin has widened to 39% for the Bloc to 22% for the Conservatives. The Liberals, at 21%, are vying for runner-up in the riding. This makes Louis-Hébert safe for Mr. Paillé.

Québec is also safe. Christiane Gagnon won it for the Bloc in 2008 with 42% to the Conservatives' 26%, but now leads with 43% to the Tories' 24%. That's a margin of 19 points.

Finally, the biggest surprise in this poll comes in Louis-Saint-Laurent. Josée Verner has been one of the best performing Conservatives in the region since 2004. She won in 2008 with 47%, ahead of the Bloc at 27%. But this poll puts the Bloc in the lead with 39%, ahead of Verner who is at 32%. That margin is within the MOE, but it is surprising to see this riding as a close race.

So, from five of seven seats, with these poll numbers the Conservatives would be reduced to three. The Bloc would pick up two and win five, but with the MOE the Bloc has the potential to win all seven seats. The results of the arena-funding poll argue that Conservative chances in the city may lie very heavily upon whether the new colisée gets built or not. This will surely make it more difficult for them to say no.


  1. Interesting, very very interesting! As a general rule I don't think you can ever put too much stock in riding-specific polls, but still, it confirms a lot, doesn't it?

    It also seems to make sense in regards to why Iggy went to Louis-Hebert and Beauport-Limoilou - those are the two strongest ridings for the Liberals! The possibility of a stronger local vote plus a split vote means the Liberals have at the very least an outside chance of winning in those seats.

    As I said, a 10% margin of error makes this completely whacked, but when do you ever see polls like this! It's so very interesting. I'd love to see something similar for Hamilton area.

  2. Me too! And for Edmonton, and Vancouver, and Winnipeg, and Toronto, and Ottawa, and...

    We're deprived, really.

  3. You have no idea, Eric. The Americans get county specific polls sometimes, nevermind how many polls they manage to get for congressional districts alone! Even the Brits get better polling that us. They had 5 separate polling companies polling one riding for a tiny by-election that didn't mean a lot in the long run - but we had no polls for Vaughan or Winnipeg North here! What is that?

    I mean, I don't even care if half of their polls are biased as hell - at least its information.

  4. Isn't it interesting that yesterday or the day before Pellardeau announced he is going to fund the new Arena in Quebec City ??

  5. That is interesting, but Le Soleil is a Gesca newspaper, not Quebecor. If it had been a poll ordered by a Quebecor paper, I would have looked at it with a suspicious eye.

  6. I wonder if they would have read out the names of local candidates in each riding?

    Also, I always thought that Portneuf-Jacques Cartier was at least as much a Quebec city seat as a seat like Lotbiniere. Too bad that wasn't included - it would have been fascinating to see where Andre Arthur's popularity is at these days. He is a defacto 12th Tory in Quebec but he won very narrowly over the BQ last time and i think his days are numbered as well.

  7. I think it is tragic that so much public policy has descended to people trying to prosper at the expense of everyone else.

    As with milk marketing boards, a small, but vocal, minority has its sights set on fleecing the taxpayer.

  8. I'm torn.

    I oppose publicly funded stadia under basically all circumstances, but I'm also aware that minority parliaments can't help but constantly try to buy votes.

    I wonder if a new arena for Québec would cost less per seat won than other forms of vote buying.

  9. @Henry

    If the government robs Peter to pay Paul, it can count on the support of Paul.

  10. If I were PM I would state categorically that there will be no talk of funding until after the election and see what happens then.

  11. Of course with a ten point margin of error it IS possible but unlikely that the numbers could be CPC 39% and the Bloc 27% or is it Eric, just in theory?

  12. Green party on a roll in Quebec City !!

    Oh cool they're going up to 7% from their 2.8% Quebec City showing in the last election.

    Lol, ok ok. Not gonna happen.

    Just add those 4% to the MOE.

  13. Earl,

    The 9.8 MOE is for the riding level numbers, not the regional numbers. The MOE for Quebec City as a whole was 3.5 points.

  14. If the CPC are so craven, and stupid to actually spend federal $$$ on sports arenas they will lose more votes then they could ever possibly gain from it.

    How can you have a billion dollars unspent, when you have a massive defict?

    Doesn't that mean it's money unborrowed?

    I thought that trial balloon had been well shot down. If the government thinks they can get away with it, then they should go for it.

    They will never see majority going in that direction.

    Cut a deal with Jack instead. He must be desperate. Cut him a deal on home-care, under 1 billion. It would be a hell of alot easier sell, the a billion worth of pro-sports arenas, paid for by all Canadians.

  15. AJR79 I guess you weren't around the for Olympics ?

    I mean the Vancouver one, not the 500 million given to the failed Toronto bid.

    Quebec City has been trying to put in a bid for a very long time. Obviously they'll need an arena to do so.

    Federal funding for Olympic venues is not new and its not unusual.

    Cutting a deal with the NDP over the budget, on the other hand, would be craven and stupid.

    I want my finance minister to do what he thinks its best for the country.

    If he thinks an NDP idea is good then use it. If its bad then don't.

    But don't use an idea you think is bad to help get a budget passed.

  16. Shadow,

    I know you like to dog any comments critical of the government, but you surely can't believe this is good policy. Can you justify federal tax dollars spent on pro-sports venues? Really?

    I never mentioned Quebec in my post but let's put this idea of a Winter Olympics there to rest shall we?

    They had a bid in 2002, here are the results. Why did they do so badly you ask? Their mountain was, and is inadequate for men's skining. The Winter Games are not happening there.

    Now what I WAS talking about, was federal funding for pro-sports arenas, like the one currently being looked at for the Roughriders.

    Tasha K sums in up, and lays it out here.

    "Sorry, but finding ways around rules that were put there for good reason isn’t creative, it’s deceptive. There are a myriad of reasons why public money should not be ploughed into pro sports complexes, teams, and the like."

    Truth Tasha. Truth. How could any fiscal conservative defend this?

  17. AJR79 I don't support money going to Sask for an arena. Bad choice if it happens.

    (Sorry if that detracts from your constant refrain that I automatically support everything the government does while you're the reasonable/principled conservative who frequently dissents.)

    Quebec City, on the other hand, needs an arena for its Olympic bid.

    Fact is I LOVED the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Quebec City is our best shot to host another one.

    BTW the skiing events can be held in the Gaspe region.

    And just because we lost a bid once doesn't mean we'll automatically lose again forever and ever.

    It actually makes us MORE likely to get support for a future bid. Build the arena, properly fund a bid, and send in the Canadian flags!

  18. Shadow,

    Do you have a link to where you got the info that Gaspe was a viable option, and being looked at?

    I know in the link I provided the only option listed was a joint bid with Lake Placid, NY. I had heard of that possibility before, but this Gaspe thing is totally new to me.

    Putting that aside I am pleased that you don't support federal money for pro-sports venues. You must realise thou that if Quebec gets $$$, then other parts of the country will get $$$ too. This has been explictily stated by none other then PM Harper, and it looks to be what the government is considering here.

    Still in favour of 100 millon for this project? Let's imagine the photo-op. Charest, Harper, and Peladeau all smiling together, and holding novelty cheques.

    Can you think of anything wrong with the optics of this picture?
    Whatever the reality is, it would surely been seen as a gift to a friend of the CPC.

    On the Olympics point I kind of agree that I would like another in about 24 years, but I think a Toronto Summer Games bid is far more likely to succeed. If you can show me how Gaspe is viable, I might be convinced.

    As it is, I believe that Lake Placid, NY is closer to QC, and I don't see a joint bid of that type being taken seriously by the IOC.

    Even PM Harper can't move mountains, no matter how many votes at stake in Quebec.

  19. I had read about the mountain in the Gaspé a few weeks ago. It's Mount Nicol-Aubert, not too far from Matane.

    It is not currently developed at all, but back in the 90s the person who came to visit the region for its suitable for Olympic skiing suggested that this mountain was perfect because of its height and smooth slope.

    The mountain that Quebec City wanted to use in Charlevoix was deemed not suitable.

    If this particular mountain was developed for use in the Olympics, it would be a tremendous, unimaginable boon for the Gaspésie. I hope it is chosen.

  20. Excuse me, Nicol-Albert. Here is a link, if you can read French:


  21. Eric,

    If Quebec City were to put together a viable bid that was chosen to host a Winter Games, I would be 100% behind using large amounts of federal funds to make it happen.

    As it is Gaspe is really far away from QC, and I don't see how an Olympics could logistically work with that much distance between venues.

    Have you ever heard of a similar bid that was successful? Sorry to say, but I think a QC winter games is just a pipe dream.

    If they were to win a bid, I would certainly like to see a new arena, and a remodel of ski-hills in Gaspe. As it is, pumping $100 million into it right now seems like putting the cart before the horse.

    This doesn't even take into account the other projects that would have to recieve funding for various pro-sports venues.

    Trying to be objective, do you think funding this arena (and others) with federal dollars is good policy?

    It's fun to dream about the benefits of another Olympic Games, but we really should have a winning bid before the rubber hits the road IMO. Otherwise we are going to have a bunch of pro-sports venues across the country funded by all Canadian taxpayers.

    I find that unacceptable, as that money could be spent on people who need it... not multi-millionare sports owners.

  22. Oh, and I probably love sports as much as anyone who posts here.

    I would love to see new hockey teams in Quebec City, Winnipeg, and Southern Ontario. I also would live to see an NFL team in Toronto. (so that I could laugh at Toronto Bills fans)

    I just do not think the feds should be the ones paying. If a city or province wants to, that's fine. It is not a federal concern IMO. Why should someone in Halifax have to pay for venues they will probably never even see?

    On a happier note... Go Pack Go. Bring Lombardi back to Titletown.

  23. AJR79 I was thinking more along the lines of a 0% upfront loan of federal funds to build the arena.

    If the bid is successful then it won't be repaid. If the bid fails or its abandoned then begin a repayment plan.

    (Or count it against the 500 million that was given to Toronto since that seems to be the going rate for bid assistance.)

    It was a mistake by the government to tie this to the NHL.

    It should have been about the Olympics from day 1.

  24. Shadow,

    I could be convinced by the 0% loan idea, but I think it's gone far past that. They are talking about a billion or more across the country.

    The optics of this are already bad. Even thou I might be convinced something like that wasn't a "handout" for Quebec, I doubt you would find other english Canadians to be so understanding.

    And yes the Nordiques jerseys were a big no-no. What is done, can't be un-done. This idea should die, as it has very little upside. It was a mistake to even revisit the idea with another trial balloon.


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