Monday, November 28, 2011

Can Quebec’s new party win over non-francophones?

Though the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) was officially launched as a political party only two weeks ago, it would virtually sweep the province of Quebec if an election were held today – but only if Gilles Duceppe stays on the sidelines.

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

Quebec is the place to be in Canadian politics right now. In addition to the CAQ, there is Jean-Martin Aussant's Option Nationale that could be a nuisance for the Parti Québécois as well. The political geography of Quebec could be very, very different after the next election.

Or, it could revert to type and François Legault's experiment will fall flat on its face. Most pundits out of Quebec do find it somewhat puzzling that Legault is so popular. He is not known for having much charisma, and he is only a few years removed from the PQ. And then there is the Gilles Duceppe factor, who would win a majority according to my projections based on CROP's numbers, seven months after voters rejected him at the polls. It is a bit of a head-scratcher.

In the Globe piece I averaged the Léger and CROP polls. Here's the full breakdown of this averaging:
The colour chosen in this graph (and future graphs) for the CAQ is based on the dominant colour of their logo. With the PQ, the ADQ, and now ON there is a lot of blue in Quebec politics.

But for Jean Charest and Pauline Marois, it's just the blues. Sorry.

These are the first real poll results including the CAQ, so it is a very interesting starting point. Note that the CAQ is strongest around Quebec City and outside of the two main urban centres. It's the same problem the ADQ had. Also note that the CAQ is not having any traction among non-francophones. The Liberals still own that vote.

What's most exciting is that this Globe article features the first projection by the new projection model for Quebec. The model is regional, using the data from the CROP and Léger polls to make projections based on regional support in Montreal RMR, Quebec RMR, and the rest of the province. Thankfully, and I confirmed it, both CROP and Léger use the same regional breakdown for their polls.

But how to include the CAQ? That is a bit of a trickier affair, as we have nothing to base their support upon. If they end up merging with the ADQ, the easiest thing would likely be to use the ADQ's support as the base. But in the meantime, the regional support levels are being applied uniformly throughout each region, with small variations based on the shifting support of the other parties. Quite interestingly, the CAQ's regional support in each riding usually fills the empty space created by proportionately dropping the support of the other parties almost perfectly.

After using this system, I noticed that the CAQ was winning some ridings in Montreal from the Liberals that just seemed unnatural. So, a first for ThreeHundredEight, the projection model in Quebec is also taking into account the linguistic profile of some ridings.

In any riding that has a disproportionately high percentage of non-francophones, the CAQ's support is determined by their support among the two linguistic groups. This means that in the West Island, particularly in ridings where non-francophones make up the vast majority of the population, the CAQ is not projected to do very well. Without using these linguistic profiles (and Elections Quebec has a wonderful amount of data on the population profiles of ridings in the province), the Liberals lose a lot of ridings that they simply won't lose.

What's great about this new model is that it allows me to use every scrap of data that can be pulled from a Quebec provincial poll. If an ADQ-CAQ merger is on the books I'll need to do some re-jigging, but I think the model should provide a very good guide of the likely outcome of the next election.


  1. If there's any province in need of electoral reform it's Quebec. To have CAQ and PLQ support combine for 56% of the vote and the PQ still receive a majority government would be a travesty.

  2. Or quite frankly for any party to achieve a majority with these levels of support.

  3. I don't have a clue what Ryan is talking about: nobody thinks the PQ would get a majority. The Globe article has them reduced to 8 seats! Ryan would do well to retract his nonsensical comment.

  4. I believe Ryan is referring to the scenario where Gilles Duceppe takes on the leadership of the PQ.

  5. Yes, Eric is correct. With Duceppe as a leader they get a majority according to that poll.

  6. Eric,

    I've sort of been playing around with my own projection system and I get a somewhat similar result to yours with the Globe numbers - except I've got the PQ a bunch lower. Not sure why, but I suppose for you, any riding-level numbers for the PQ make the vast majority of their seats TCTC anyways, right?

  7. Without knowing how your system works and what data you were using, I really can't say.

  8. I took half the ADQ vote and a third of the PQ vote, and made that the CAQ base, then applied as needed. This seemed to work very well. Only in the Quebec City area did I limit the ADQ vote to one third. I will send you the files I have.

  9. As an occasional observer from outside Quebec just vaguely aware of the CAQ, and wanting to learn more, I have no idea which blue is which party. Perhaps you could include a legend going forward? I went to the CAQ website to see what the blue they used but and am still not certain.

  10. One of the things that makes predicting the next Quebec election so interesting and tricky is the emergence of a brand new party with no previous base and notable support. In trying to figure out which seats may likely swing to the CAQ, I've begun to think about looking at seats that swung to the ADQ in 2007. These ridings, afterall, were willing to try a relatively inexperienced party and a party whose economic and constitutional positions are close to those of the CAQ. What do you make of looking to the ADQ vote in 2007 as a gauge for assessing where the CAQ could win?

  11. Anonymous 21:14,

    There is a legend in the right-hand column of this site.


    I think it is a good gauge, as most of the seats that I have going to the CAQ in both scenarios are those that went ADQ in 2007. The CAQ of 2011 and the ADQ of 2007 share the same nationalist francophone vote that isn't necessarily federalist or sovereigntist.

  12. Bonjour,

    A bit late but, I'm looking forward to get new updates on the now merged CAQ-ADQ.

    My question, how would you describe the last Gesca La Presse poll (December 13-14) ? It says half people does not understand CAQ's political positions.


  13. Yes, it is interesting, but not surprising. The CAQ has been more vague than specific, and now that they are looking at taking some of the ADQ's positions it is impossible to know exactly what the CAQ will be offering.

    Perhaps, though, it is an indication of Legault's intentions to take what he thinks are the best ideas from the left and the right.

    I assume we'll have a new voting intentions poll out soon, but the merger of the CAQ-ADQ still has to be approved by the ADQ's members. I'm not so sure they'll get that approval - and if not, then what?

    Quebec is certainly going through an interesting time!


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