Thursday, April 26, 2012

Liberals, PQ neck-and-neck

Two polls released this week show the gap between the Parti Québécois and the Liberals has narrowed to virtual nothingness, with one survey putting the parties in a tie and the other giving the Liberals a two-point lead.
CROP was last in the field Mar. 15-19, and since then the PQ has dropped six points to 28%, behind the Liberals who are unchanged at 30%. The CAQ is up one point to 25%, while Québec Solidaire trails with 8% support.

That is a big drop for the Parti Québécois in only a month, and it took place throughout the province.

They still lead among francophones, but they are down nine points to 32%. They are at 32% as well in the regions of Quebec, a drop of 10 points.

The Liberals lead among non-francophones with 69% (-7) and in Montreal with 34%, down two points. The Coalition Avenir Québec is ahead in Quebec City with 40%, a gain of three points.

But this points to a close race everywhere - the margin between first and third among francophones is only 10 points, and in no part of the province does one party hold a very significant lead (Quebec City has a small sample size).
Forum shows the race neck-and-neck at 35% apiece for the PQ and the Liberals, but the CAQ is well behind with only 16%.

The PQ leads among francophones with 39% support and in the regions of Quebec with about 42%. The Liberals are ahead with 69% among non-francophones, 41% in Montreal, and 32% in Quebec City.

But Forum and CROP only really agree that the race between the PQ and the Liberals is close, and that the Liberals have the edge in Montreal and the PQ in the regions. Apart from that, there is little that is similar with CROP's polling.

And if we compare the trends by looking back at Forum's poll taken on Mar. 21, the disagreements are even greater. Though Forum has the PQ down six points since that poll, echoing CROP's drop, they have the Liberals up six points and the CAQ down three.

Forum sees the Liberals up in Montreal and the PQ and CAQ down, while Forum has the Liberals and PQ down and the CAQ up. In Quebec City, the CAQ is either way behind with 20% and dropping (Forum) or at 40% and gaining (CROP).

It either points to a large degree of volatility, or some odd results. What we can say definitively, however, is that the Parti Québécois has lost support over the last month and that they are effectively tied with the Liberals.

But either way, the Parti Québécois wins a minority government. With CROP's numbers, the PQ takes 49 seats with the Liberals winning 46, the CAQ winning 28, and Québec Solidaire winning two.

The PQ wins 15 seats in Montreal, one in Quebec City, and 33 in the rest of the province, while the Liberals win 32 in Montreal, three in Quebec City, and 11 in the rest of the province. The CAQ manages nine seats in and around Montreal, seven in Quebec City, and 12 in the regions.

With Forum's numbers, however, the PQ wins 60 seats to the Liberals' 58, with only five going to the CAQ. It is really the difference in opinion on where CAQ stands that separates the two polls.

In this scenario, the PQ wins 21 seats in Montreal, two in Quebec City, and 37 in the rest of the province. The Liberals win 35 seats in Montreal, seven in Quebec City, and 16 in the rest of the province, while the CAQ wins two seats in Quebec City and three in the regions.

It is difficult to bring these two polls together, but what does seem clear is that the Liberals have a big advantage in Montreal, while the Parti Québécois wins their seats primarily outside of the two cities. That makes the battleground the suburbs in between, and the role the CAQ plays becomes important at that point. If they are doing as well as they are in CROP's polling, then the suburbs become a three-way contest and the party can challenge the PQ in some of the more conservative rural parts of Quebec. If the CAQ is doing as badly as they are in Forum's polling, than they won't be a factor at all.

But Quebecers seem ready for an election. Forum puts support for a new vote at 49%, which is quite high. Satisfaction with the government is still incredibly low, and Charest's personal approval rating is lower than either Marois's or Legault's. Nevertheless, incumbents have won all seven of the provincial and federal elections held in the last 12 months.

18 comments:

  1. It's official: Predicting Quebec politics is like predicting the weather. on another planet. in the Andromeda galaxy. 547,684 years from now.

    That said, I'm willing to bet that if the NDP made another provincial wing of the party in Quebec that was solidly FEDERALIST and had solid leadership that they would stomp on all of the competition. It's becoming clear what Quebec wants.. they want to move more left provincially, but the big party in that position right now is the PQ... but they are tired of the sovereigntist rhetoric and incompetence, so they go back to the Liberals... but they are more right wing right now under Charest and are tired of them. Meanwhile, the CAQ clearly made their position apparent when they absorbed the ADQ. Garglegarrgh.

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    1. So either the NDP forms a new provincial wing or the Liberals dump Charest for a left-leaning leader.

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  2. The reason voter satisfaction is so low, and party support is a three way roller coaster race is because the majority of Quebecers have no voice. Its time for the NDP to set up a provincial wing.
    -Taylor

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  3. ZOMBIE CHAREST - THE REANIMATION

    Seriously, how many times can that guy's political career come back to life?

    I can't help but root for him.

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    1. It's his sex appeal that does it for him.

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  4. I am wondering if the student strikes are making the Liberals seem more compitent to the eyes of Quebecors. They are up in both polls in Montreal and the strikes have been happening for weeks, so it would seem that those strikes are actually helping the Liberals there.

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  5. Éric, thanks for this article. Forum Research seems to have just recently embarked on the Québec provincial polling scene, previously dominated by CROP and Léger. While the latter two have maintained a fairly decent record of being more or less in agreement with their numbers, do you have any theories as to why Forum so far seems to consistently report higher support for the PQ and lower support for the CAQ?

    Dom

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    1. No, it is a little puzzling. And Forum tends to have some of the higher Conservative results federally, so it isn't about the ideology of those being polled.

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    2. That said, I wonder if it has to do with a higher sampling of older or more rural voters? Outside of Quebec, both demographics favor Conservatives while inside Quebec they favor PQ.

      Perhaps an over-reliance on landlines?

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  6. Eric do you think that CAQ would co-operate with the Liberals to keep the PQ out of office?

    Anyone else?

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    1. I doubt it. The CAQ has both federalists and sovereigntists in its ranks. Wasn't Francois Legault himself once a PQ Minister?

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  7. Hi Eric,

    Whats your thoughts on whether the NDP should set up a provincial wing in Quebec? I don't think it will necessarily mean a win - I mean look at Manitoba. We vote federally for the Conservatives but have given the NDP four consecutive majority governments.

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    1. I think they are better off keeping out of provincial politics, it makes it easier for them to attract support across the political spectrum. No federal party has a provincial equivalent in Quebec aside from the Bloc.

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    2. And by that I mean a party that has real ties to a provincial outfit. I'm not sure about the provincial Greens, but I'm guessing with their "free vote on sovereignty" policy they aren't in lock step with the federal apparatus.

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  8. For those who are calling for a NDP wing in Quebec: the NDP used to have one, but it got ripped up by sovereignists and federalists after the Meech Lake fiasco. The NDP had to cut all ties to its wing once it was clear it would support sovereignity and left it to fend for itself. Then it merged into some party that would later merge with other leftist parties to form a new party some years ago. That new party has a seat in the National Assembly... Yep, Québec Solidaire. So I doubt recreating the NDP would change anything when the federal party got supports from sovereignists and federalists alike. It doesn't sound like a strong combination and it could only take one crisis to rip it apart again.

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  9. This is not the right time for the NDP to re-establish a provincial party in Quebec. The party should focus on 2015, try to form government and cement their holding in Quebec. The NDP should allocate their resources and energy to the federal cause at the moment.

    As for the Quebec election, I think the election would be a strong three-way and would result in a minority government. The CAQ is polling low these days, but I think once the writ drops their numbers would increase again.

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    1. Just to interject: Québec Solidaire has helped the NPD pretty intensively in winning Québec last year, so they are their unofficial provincial counterpart in some way...

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  10. Québec Solidaire is the spiritual successor of the defunct Quebec NDP. Theirs ideas aren't really gaining popularity and are standing pretty much at the same place as the Green Party: some support, but no representation. Except for Amir Khadir, but that a weird political exception. The exception confirm the rule.

    I would say anyone suggesting a new NDP Quebec wing are true NDP, pretty rare in Quebec Province or people outside the province with very few understanding of the basically screw up Québécois's politic. Not that I blame them, I couldn't bet a penny on the next election, as anything, except maybe a PCQ (Quebec Conservative) government is a possibility. Even that last one might be somewhere on the list of possible yet not probable event. Not that would be worse that a new PQ office.

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