Wednesday, May 23, 2012

PQ and Liberals neck-and-neck as CAQ falls away

Emotions are running high in Quebec at the moment, with the student protest continuing unabated and the provincial government coming down with a law seen by many as draconian, by many others as necessary. Over the last week, four polls on the provincial voting intentions of Quebecers have been released, and they all show that in the midst of this turmoil the Parti Québécois and governing Liberals are running neck-and-neck.
Starting with the oldest survey, conducted May 10-17 by Segma Recherche for Le Soleil, the Parti Québécois led in this poll with 32%, four points up on the Liberals.

The CAQ trailed with 19%, followed by Québec Solidaire at a very high 11%. The Greens were not far behind with 9%.

Segma has not been in the field for quite some time, so there is nothing to compare these results to.

But they generally jive with everything else we've seen. The PQ leads with 36% among francophones and is second among non-francophones with 14%, while they lead in the regions of the province with 37%. They trail the Liberals in Montreal with 29% and in Quebec City with 25%.

The Liberals are ahead among non-francophones with 55%, and lead in Montreal with 30% and Quebec City with 36%. They are running second in the regions with 25%.

This sort of divide, with the PQ ahead in the regions, the PLQ in Quebec City, and the two parties running close in and around Montreal, has been the case for months. What is interesting, however, is that Segma seems to suggest that the polls by Forum Research showing the CAQ in the doldrums were not so unusual.
Speaking of Forum, the firm released two polls over a few days as a result of the emergency legislation that came down late last week. Their poll from May 15 put the Liberals ahead of the PQ with 35% to 33%, while their poll from May 17 put the Liberals ahead by 34% to 33%.

Combining the two polls, we get the Liberals leading with 35%, unchanged from Forum's last poll of Apr. 24. The Parti Québécois trails with 33%, down two points, while the CAQ is up three points to 19%.

Québec Solidaire is up two points to 10% while the Greens stand at 3%.

The Liberals lead among non-francophones with 65% (-4), in Montreal with 36% (-5), and in Quebec City with 38% (+6). They are tied with the PQ on the north shore with 35% (+4) and trail in second with 30% on the south shore (unchanged) and among francophones (31%, +1).

The Parti Québécois leads among francophones with 35% (-4) and on the south shore with 37% (-6). They have dropped five points on the north shore to 35%, tied with Liberals, and trail in Montreal with 32% (+3) and in Quebec City with 26% (-4).

Both of these polls point to a minority government, but obviously the PQ is better placed with Segma's numbers. With those results, they win 62 seats to 49 for the Liberals, 10 for the CAQ, and four for Québec Solidaire.

The Parti Québécois wins 23 seats in and around Montreal, one in Quebec City, and 38 in the rest of Quebec, while the Liberals split their seats 29-9-11, respectively.

With Forum's numbers, the result is far closer. The Liberals squeak out a win with 59 seats (31 in Montreal, eight in Quebec City, 20 in the rest of Quebec) while the PQ takes 58 seats (25-1-32). The CAQ wins nine while QS takes two.

In both of these cases, the margin between minority and majority is so close that anything could happen. If we simply average out the two results, the PQ wins 60 seats to 54 for the Liberals. I wouldn't want to be projecting such a narrow gap the day before the election.
The newest poll, however, is probably more instructive. Taken May 19-21 by Léger Marketing, it encompasses some of the post-Bill 78 controversy and some of the violence of the weekend protests.

This poll puts the Liberals and PQ tied at 32%, representing a gain of four points for the Liberals and one point for the PQ since Léger's last poll of Apr. 30-May 2.

The CAQ is down three points to 21%. With Forum putting the party at between 18% and 19% support, Segma at 19%, and now Léger at 21%, it can be said with a good degree of confidence that François Legault's CAQ has indeed dropped from the mid-20s to around 20%.

Unfortunately, Léger did not release their regional results but we can see that the PQ leads among francophones with 39%, a gain of two points, while the Liberals are up three points to 25%. The CAQ is down two to 24%. Support among non-francophones has jumped by 10 points for the Liberals to 64%.

The Quebec seat projection model is regionally based, so I cannot make a projection for this poll. However, a Liberal/PQ tie would likely result in the Parti Québécois winning a few more seats than the Liberals but not achieving a majority.

The political dynamics in Quebec are getting quite interesting. The Liberals and Parti Québécois are in a death-grip while the CAQ is struggling to keep its head above water. At these levels of support, it can best hope to play the spoiler and be kingmaker in the next National Assembly, though the Liberals and PQ are weak enough that a campaign could turn everything on its head. And then there is the big chunk of support going to Québec Solidaire, which is now pushing the low-to-mid-teens around Montreal, and is almost certainly in third place on the island itself. That makes for a few interesting races - the Segma poll suggests the party could win as many as four seats.

The protests themselves look like they could last for at least another three months, while the inquiry into corruption in the construction industry has kicked off this week and will be returning in mid-September after a summer break. The inquiry is a hot commodity, some thinking it could be more explosive than Gomery, and it is supposed to report in October 2013. Jean Charest needs to call the election sometime between now and the end of 2013. And added to that can be two by-elections in June and another sometime before the end of the year due to the resignation of former education minister Line Beauchamp.

At this point, to call the political landscape of Quebec a minefield would be an understatement.


  1. Quebec is craving for a new set of ideas from a new party that is left-leaning and ditches the sovereignty talk.

    PQ and PLQ sucks. CAQ is worthless at this point. QS is laughable.

    1. I agree! I've been saying this same thing for a while now. Quebec has always been looking for a left leaning party that isn't beholden to sovereigntists.

      They certainly weren't voting Liberal (federally)and that left them with the Bloc. This until Jack gave his party enough cred in Quebec leading to the result we had May '11.

      IMO, Q is screaming for a smart/left leaning gov.

    2. Agreed.

      If QS could refocus on the issues they said were most important at the beginning (i.e. economic and social justice, with sovereigntism on the back burner) they would be a lot higher in the polls. That being said, and without a provincial NDP, the best bet for a genuine alternative to the two dominant parties is still QS...

  2. The student riots (and the PQ support) hurt the PQ to make them unelectable.

    The unprecedented corruption make the Liberals unelectable. (they will be lucky to stay out of jail.... Almost certainly would be found more guilty and serve longer sentences than Conrad Black if tried in a Chicago court room).

    It seems the best solution for Quebec governance might be for the Queen to appoint a Governor.

    1. So scrap democracy because you don't like the result?

    2. Even the NY Times ( can tell the difference between a riot (for example, those we saw in Montreal and Vancouver following two Stanley Cup series) and the mass demonstrations happening in Quebec right now, which ahve been largely peaceful considering the huge numbers of people, marred only by the usual idiot self-appointed provocateurs and the excessive violence of the police.

      Try and maintain some perspective.

    3. Chim

      BC Voice Of Unreason has only one perspective and that's extremely conservative !!

    4. Chim

      I wasn't making point about the violence or even the legality of the protest. It has been wrecking the Quebec economy and greatly lowering the standard of living in Montreal. It will kill the tourism industry.

      I believe there are 67% of the people of Quebec that realize this and are very much against the protests.

      My point is that the PQ (along with the federal NDP) the 2 biggest political leaders have not come out and made any attempt to bring an end to the civil unrest. How can the 67% of Quebecers that want and need this to happen possibly hold their nose and vote for the BQ (and the federal NDP)????

      These leaders are going against what the vast majority of Quebec wants.

      Meanwhile Charest has run the most corrupt government in a western democracy. His government makes Mulroney and Chretien to be paragons of virtue and honesty. The Liberals deserve to be wiped out as a party and look a some jail time to see that they can be rehabilitated.

      This has nothing to do with left or right politics.

      The Quebec voter is left with absolute no choice.

      In context of this particular poll.... how in the world can Charest even be in consideration of being re-elected. He has the worst economic , integrity, and leadership record of any Premier ... well basically ever.

      I would advise the Queen to appoint Lucien Bouchard as governor.

      He is a left of centre separatist but has governed relatively corruption free, so far as I know.

      I would have more faith in him standing up to the unions and "students" that are flushing what little economy that Quebec has left down the toilet.

      Eric -- "BC Voice Of Unreason has only one perspective and that's extremely conservative !!" Doesn't add anything to the discussion and is definite impolite.

      especially from someone who won't even use a pseudonym to keep track of their positions.

    5. BC Voice of Reason24 May, 2012 12:57

      I was responding to your use of the term "riots" to describe the student (et al) demonstrations.

      The 67% you refer to is from a poll released before Bill 78 was passed. The more recent polls show the Quebec population more or less evenly divided on the protests.

      The PQ is doing what it can and what it feels it ought to do, given their comparartively powerless position as Opposition. The NDP has no jurisdiction on this issue - they could speak up in support of the students, or (perhaps with more effect), simply demand that post-secondary education should be accessible to all, everywhere in the country, without financial obstacles... but, again, they aren't really in a position to say much about this. It's the Liberal government, on the other hand, that has an obligation to act, and to do so responsibly. Between the Liberals, who've made their position clear, and the PQ, whom I don't believe anymore than the Liberals, I don't think there's anything to choose. Both parties have lousy track records. Even Bouchard, whom you describe as centre-left, has a record in power as a neo-liberal rightist... in fact, no different than Charest except with regard to sovereigntism.

      Regardless of the lack of real choice in Quebec (I might suggest Quebec Solidaire as an alternative, but they've been too quiet lately to know what they think), calling for the Queen to impose a government is hardly justified nor even vaguely democratic.

    6. BCVoR, if the Queen did what you suggest, it would provoke a constitutional firestorm the likes of which this country has never seen. It would almost certainly lead to the declaration of a Canadian republic and quite possibly the secession of Quebec. It's also an open question whether the courts would enforce laws made by any governor so appointed. The constitutional convention in Canada is that the Queen, the Governor General or the Lieutenant Governor act by and with the consent of the legislature, and ONLY by and with the consent of the legislature. Exercising the Crown's reserve power in this manner would be stunningly unconstitutional.

    7. Chimurenga,

      Quebec Solidaire has been quite vocal on the student strikes. They are very much behind them, even supporting civil disobedience to Bill 78. I can't recall which they support, but they are either for tuition freeze or free tuition.

    8. "The NDP has no jurisdiction on this issue - "

      Didn't stop muclair from commenting on resources this past month...

      Don't suppose you pay attention in the election campaigns?? How many times do we hear about how the fed is going to fix healthcare, education, etc. Half the last campaign the last couple go rounds was on provincial issues (by all parties).

      Not commenting on something going on in Muclair's Montreal riding?? Don't feed me a bunch of BS on how respectful of provincial boundaries he is (or suddenly has become today).

      He's not commenting on it because people, and the people who vote for the NDP are split on it... he doesn't want to take a position and lose voters plain and simple.

    9. The queen? Hell no. She's a puppet. Period.

  3. Too late for an NPD provincial party? The federal party may not want the risk of being associated with controversial positions within Québec, but I could see them drawing support from PLQ voters tired of Charest, PQ voters tired of sovereignty, and could supplant the QS mini-surge. Though, in this minefield, it could also blow up in Mulcair's face....!

    1. The NDP is perfectly happy to stay out of the morass of Quebec provincial politics, at least for the time being. The FNDP doesn't want to tie itself to a political party that could quite possibly fail dramatically and damage the federal brand.

    2. The NDP doesn't have an obligation to the people of Quebec to provide them with better leadership and goverance than the two current totally imcompetent parties?

      Politics has to be at least somewhat about public service and not always about personal political gain.

    3. Sure, in an ideal world. Give me a call when we're living in one.

    4. The NDP used to have a provincial branch, but it got torn up by sovereignists and federalists during the 1990s. QS is its successor now. Plus, Quebec parties have been long disconnected from the federal ones. If the NDP creates a provincial branch, I'm not supporting either of them.

    5. TS

      So discounting the ideals slant... the NDP is not opportunistic enough to take advantage of the glaring leadership deficit in Quebec to opportunistically grab power?

      In the current mess that Quebec is in a popular NDP leader could draw significant support.

      With over 50 federal MPs there must be 1 or 2 charsimatic ones that would outshine Charest and Marois...

      Your argument is that they would mess up their federal chances with strong provincal representation in Quebec kind of shows how low your estimation is of their abilities/platform.

      I wonder if the rest of the left of centre supporters are waiting for them to fail? That would account for their lack of ability to fund raise. They still trail the Liberals in fund raising.

    6. @BC Voice of Reason.

      I'm against the idea of a NDP provincial party directly connected to the federal one. The idea of a national party controlling Quebec's domestic affairs, should it win the government in Quebec City, scares me big time. Especially considering the centralist nature of the party, so that would mean that English Canada would try to directly impose its will on my province.

      And I will have none of that.

      Non merci!

    7. Really...basically that is proven not to be the case in Manitoba. NDP provincial government does not follow even %50 of the federal parties policies.

      However you might be correct in Sask. The NDP provincial government seemed to hold back the economy of Saskatchewan with the NDP bad for business policies and Sask has thrived under the Right wing management of Wall.

      The NDP economic policies are not important in QC. The population seems to be fine with being under-performing and relying on handouts from the ROC.

      Either way if the NDP is not confident in their policies fixing QC then they have no moral authority to try to implemet their polocies on Canada, especially from a Quebec base.

      Lucien Bouchard seems to be the lone exception who seemed to catch on that the European welfare state of Quebec does create the ideal conditions for a viable sovereign Quebec state.

  4. The question political landscape seems to be getting more uncertain because some polls suggest a small majority for the PQ to a small majority for the Liberals to minorities with the PQ or the Liberals.

    I think that the CAQ seems to be a fresh face for the Quebec scene and I feel that something different from the Liberals and PQ is welcomed.

    I just hope that the CAQ is more of an independent right wing liberal party / left wing conservative party because the way the CAQ party was created it seemed like the purpose was to get Quebec's finances in order. Now, the party, since it is lower in the polls, is viewed as another ADQ party and people probably reject right wing liberalism / moderate conservatism or conservatism of any kind. Quebec is a progressive province and I feel that the separatist - federalist divide will last forever.

    The thing I am shocked about is that the QS party is around 10% in each poll. That is shocking and I feel that if the Liberals and PQ start to anger labour and talk a lot about austerity then I feel non traditional parties will get into power. After all, QS is a democratic socialist party and are left wing not centre-left.

    In closing, the next election favours the PQ in most cases because Charest and his party are pretty corrupt.

  5. Bonjour,

    J'adore votre travail. Merci pour tout.

    Dans le 2 \% d'erreur se cache ON et les Verts. Dans quelles circonscriptions seraient-ils le plus à même de remporter des sièges ?

    Pour Montréal, l'avancée de QS se situe très certainement dans Mercier et Gouin. Est-ce à la défaveur du PQ, ou du PLQ ? Aussi, quelles-sont les autres circonscriptions en lice pour QS ?

    Je me prive de commentaire, seulement, je crois que le vote "Pour la loi 78" des députés de la CAQ (ex-ADQ) a sérieusement joué dans en leur défaveur par rapport aux intentions de vote des francophones.

    Merci !

    1. Merci Patrick. Pour l'Option Nationale, c'est certainement Nicolet-Yamaska, le siège de Jean-Martin Aussant. Je ne pense pas qu'un deuxième siège est probable.

      Dans Mercier et Gouin, c'est au défaveur du PQ. Les deux autres circonscriptions sont Laurier-Dorion et Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques.

  6. At this point I think Charest might as well put things on the line and call an election. The worst thing he can do is what he did today. Offer, again, to negotiate with the rioting students. Face them down and go to an election. I think he would have his best chance of re-election because he would be framing the election issue. The choice would be stark. For or against order. He could no longer be accused of using the crisis for political gain but rather could say honestly that the students had forced his hand and ask for a strong majority to deal with the tuition issue.

  7. Why didn't you post a seat projection for the Léger Marketing poll too?

    1. You make me sad - only looking at the pretty graphs!

      "The Quebec seat projection model is regionally based, so I cannot make a projection for this poll."

  8. Oooh the new AR and the IR both have the Conservatives at 37% compared to a raft of other polls that had them around 33%.

    What's going on ?

    Nothing. They're exactly where they were in the polls taken before the last election.

    Different polling firms 'lean' in different directions.

    It has to do with how they sample and work the numbers.

  9. Interesting results. It seems Law 78 is helping both Charest and the students at the same time, Drawing right-wing voters from the CAQ to Charest, an the center and the left behind the students. With left and center anglos and allos behind Charest, and the hard core student supporters staying behind QS, it looks like Charest might squeak out a minority government if he goes to elections on this issue.


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