Friday, August 24, 2012

Charest continues to trail in Sherbrooke

Over the last few years, elections in Quebec have featured riding-level polling to a degree that is rarely seen in any other jurisdiction in Canada. About one-third of ridings in Quebec were individually polled in the 2011 federal election, compared to a handful in the rest of the country. Riding polls in the 2008 provincial election were also common. Ten ridings have been polled so far in this campaign.

The riding poll in Sherbrooke released in the second week of the campaign captured the most attention, as it put Jean Charest behind the PQ's Serge Cardin by 15 points. It certainly put a damper on the Liberal campaign, and is likely one of the reasons why Charest has visited his riding several times over the last few weeks. Those visits do not seem to have helped, as Segma Recherche was back in the field this week and found that Charest still trails by double-digits.
Segma was last in the field in Sherbrooke on August 6-8, and since then there has been very little change in the voting intentions of people in the riding.

Cardin is down one point to 45% while Charest is up two to 33%, insignificant amounts of change in a poll with a margin of error of +/- 4.3%. Despite the relatively high margin of error, however, Serge Cardin's lead is statistically significant.

The CAQ is down one point to 10% in the riding, while Québec Solidaire is up one point to 7%. Option Nationale is up one to 3% and the Greens are unchanged at 2%, while the Parti indépendantiste's candidate sits at 1% support.

Riding polls have been off before, but this is a rather considerable gap between Serge Cardin and Jean Charest. The premier's chances are worsened by the fact that Segma has demonstrated consistent results over two polls. It could very well be that voters in Sherbrooke fully intend to oust Charest from office themselves, regardless of what happens in the rest of the province.

Segma Recherche also polled the riding of Saint-Maurice for Le Nouvelliste, a riding somewhat up for grabs due to the retirement of the incumbent PQ MNA. Nevertheless, Luc Trudel of the Parti Québécois is holding firm with 42%, virtually unchanged from the 43% the PQ took in 2008.

The Liberal candidate, Robert Pilotte, has 26% support (down 12 points from the last election) while Pierre Giguère of the CAQ is at 22% (the ADQ took 15% in 2008).

They are followed at length by Québec Solidaire (5%), and Option Nationale (2%). An independent candidate and the Parti unité nationale share 3% support.

The poll in Saint-Maurice is not surprising, as the PQ is the incumbent party and they are doing much better than the Liberals among francophones. 

But do these two polls suggest that the Forum poll from earlier this week might have been wrong-headed?

The current projection, which incorporates the results of the Forum poll, gives the PQ 38% in Sherbrooke with the Liberals trailing at 35%. It places Québec Solidaire at 12% and the CAQ at 10%. The current projection in Saint-Maurice is 39% for the PQ, 33% for the PLQ, and 19% for the CAQ.

The projection, then, over-estimates Liberal support and under-estimates support for the PQ. If we remove Forum's poll from the equation entirely, the projection turns out to be much closer for both ridings. In Sherbrooke, it would instead be 43% PQ, 30% PLQ, 10% CAQ, and 7% QS. In Saint-Maurice, it would be 43% PQ, 28% PLQ, and 19% CAQ.

In other words, these two Segma riding polls seem to suggest that the surge in Liberal support recorded by Forum Research did not take place - or that it dissipated over the course of the three one-on-one debates. The projection for individual ridings has matched up to the results of Segma's polling quite well so far in this campaign. It could be coincidental that they do not match up so closely this time around, or it could be that the Forum poll was indeed off the mark. Undoubtedly, Léger Marketing and CROP will report in the next few days and clear the matter up. 

21 comments:

  1. While what you say the Segma poll suggests about the PLQ bump in the Forum poll may be true, I'd caution against extrapolating the Segma poll across the whole of Québec.

    Though the vast majority of the time, Premiers and major party leaders tend to enjoy significant advantages in the election in their riding, this may prove to be a possible exception. It is quite possible that the people of Sherbrooke realise that it is important to remove Jean Charest as premier to get fresh faces in government... and that if it had been almost any other PLQ candidate, they may have been leading in the same poll.

    Of course this is all speculation, and it is important for us to receive more Québec-wide polling information. I know the significant dearth of polling (of which I thought that, if not yesterday, we would certainly be seeing some today) is really getting to me. Alberta and Ontario both had almost daily polls coming out, whereas here it seems quite irregular.

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    1. I am from Sherbrooke and those who, like me, will vote for the PQ do so for 2 reasons : Cardin has proved to be a good MP for years in the federal riding and we do want to get rid of Charest ourselves.

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    2. Im sorry but I didn't want Charest out. At least he stoop up against the students.

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  2. Éric, being the polling insider that you are, do you have any idea whether some of the other pollsters who have occasionally weighed in on previous QC elections can be expected to do so again in this one? e.g. Angus Reid, Environics, Nanos?

    Dom

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    1. We should not expect them to weigh-in, but never say never.

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  3. I would be tempted to completely disregard the sherbrooke poll, election after election Charest always seems to take his riding despite unpopularity among francophones. I suspect this poll may include a certain percentage of student voters who are notoriously absent come day of election, hence I would almost bet that realistically Charest is even or trailing by 2

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  4. "But do these two polls suggest that the Forum poll from earlier this week might have been wrong-headed?" Perhaps so. I'm still tempted to think it's a rouge poll, but then it could be that Sherbrooke is pretty set on attempting to remove Charest and not generally moving along with the voting trend in the rest of the province. Like you just said, we'll see very soon when CROP and Léger publish their results (hopefully very soon since I'm dying here).

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    1. Léger/JdM announced they'll have theirs out tomorrow. I haven't heard anything about CROP, though.

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    2. The Liberal government without Charest wouldn't be the worst thing in the world...

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    3. a safe liberal mna will probably resign in the event of a liberal victory but with charest losing his own riding, paving the way for a rapid by-election for charest to return to national assembly before christmas.

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    4. Anonymous 17:00:

      That would be risky... remember how well that worked out for Ontario PC Leader John Tory.

      Not saying Charest wouldn't try, but the people of the new riding would probably not appreciate it, and the current MNA of said riding, usually someone pretty prominent in a party if it is safe, would probably be extremely reluctant to do such a thing.

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    5. Remember that he's still unpopular to many Quebecois, so the party could seize that chance to get rid of him and find a new face that would improve the Liberal brand, which is doubtful in a short term. But that doesn't mean they cannot try.

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    6. I would like to see voters of d'arcy mcgee NOT vote for PLQ in a by-election. Not saying that that particular mna would resign for Charest, but if Charest is to remain pm after losing sherbrooke you can be he will find the safest of safe ridings to run in...

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  5. In the 2008 Quebec election, Angus Reid weighed in at the end.

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  6. Cardin, running for PQ in Sherbrooke riding, is not a no-name "poteau". He served as Bloc MP for several turns and only went out with the orange wave. Sept. 4th will be interesting.......

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  7. Just got a call from Forum. They are polling for Orford, Sherbrooke, and Saint Francois.

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    1. How do you know they are doing those three ridings?

      They did a massive 40,000 poll of every Ontario riding in that province's provincial election. I wonder if they are trying something similar again.

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    2. leger poll is in, showing a pq lead with CAQ in 2nd. So much for that.

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    3. I'm actually in Brome-Missiquoi. It was an automated poll phone poll. They had a choice in the screening questions asking if I was in Orford, Sherbrooke, Saint Francois, and other. I chose "other", and it was the end of the poll.

      I'm guessing that they wanted people in the other ridings. Don't know why they'd call if they didn't want my opinion. Maybe it was a control call.

      I wonder if a procedure like that would screen out people who don't know the riding they are in. It seems odd.


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  8. That doesn't surprise me, but don't call Charest dead yet. Radio-Canada made the mistake once in an election night and they looked pretty ridiculous. Charest has more live that a cat. Not that he is immortal.

    If he happen to lose his seat and decide to leave (or get push out), I wonder who could take over, Charest pretty much burn out everyone of his "successor". Their is always Coderre. But still. He his looking at two job right now.

    As for Forum, we will see how much they were right or out with Léger tomorrow. I'm curious if they will release their result with the uncertain distribute or not.

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