Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Liberals still hold comfortable lead as PQ gets boost

It seems like it has been ages since the last federal or provincial poll has been published, but this morning La Presse and CROP have given us something to sustain ourselves on for the next few days. The poll shows that Philippe Couillard's Quebec Liberals still remain well ahead of the pack in the province, but also that Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois have received a boost in support.
CROP was last in the field in mid-June, and since then both the PLQ and PQ have experienced a gain in support. Neither gain is outside the margin of error, however (if this was a probabilistic sample). The Liberals were up two points to 40% while the Parti Québécois was up four points to 29%, just flirting with a statistically significant boost.

The Coalition Avenir Québec fell two points to 20%, while Québec Solidaire was down four points to 7% - that drop is outside of the margin of error. Option Nationale and support for other parties was at 2% apiece, while 11% were undecided and another 6% did not give a response for one reason or another.

The PQ's gain has been attributed to the government's good handling of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, so this boost is somewhat expected. But it is interesting how the numbers have improved across the board on other measures for the PQ: satisfaction was up six points to 34%, Marois was up eight points on who would make the best premier to 19%, and support for sovereignty was up six points to 40%, the highest it has been in some time.

Nevertheless, the Liberals remain in control. Couillard had 26% on the premier question, unchanged from June, and they were ahead in every region of the province except Quebec City.

The Liberals had 93% support among non-francophones and 28% among francophones. They were up nine points to 51% in the Montreal region - and more specifically led with 55% on the island of Montreal and 45% (a gain of 12 points) in the surrounding suburbs. They were narrowly up on the PQ in the regions of Quebec with 32%, but fell 13 points in and around Quebec City to 27%. That is below even their 2012 election total.

The PQ was up five points among francophones to 35%, but experienced no other significant boosts in support. They were up on the island of Montreal to 30%, in Quebec City to 22%, and in the regions to 31%, however, while they dropped in the suburbs of Montreal to 26%.

The CAQ was down throughout the province except around Quebec City. It means this is a bad poll for the CAQ, which makes it difficult to believe that François Legault is in any hurry to help Couillard bring down the government. The party was down to 24% among francophones and only 3% among non-francophones, has dropped six points in the Montreal RMR to 12%, and was down to 6% on the island and 20% in the suburbs. The party was down to 23% in the regions, but did experience an 11-point gain to lead in Quebec City with 42%. Legault was down only one point to 16% on the premier question, though that did put him behind Marois.

Québec Solidaire seems to have suffered the most at the hands of the PQ, as they were down to only 6% on the island of Montreal. That is their main region of support, and it puts both of their seats at risk. Option Nationale seems to be dropping back due to Jean-Martin Aussant's resignation, though it appears CROP kept his name in the survey.
In terms of seats, the disproportionate concentration of support for the Liberals in and around Montreal means they do not win the kind of majority one would expect with an 11-point lead. Instead, they barely squeak by with 63 seats, 39 of them in the Montreal region.

The Parti Québécois drops to 48 seats, while the CAQ is reduced to 14. Québec Solidaire is shut out, due to the PQ's relatively stronger showing on the island of Montreal.

It is possible that with such a large lead, the PLQ would be able to pull a few more seats out of these numbers than the 63 they are given here. But the Liberals have traditionally had a less efficient vote due to their weakness among the francophone electorate, which is consistent with this poll. The CAQ seems to be stuck at around 20%, quite a bit lower than they 27% the party took in 2012.

For Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois, these numbers are heading in the right direction but the party is still badly positioned to face voters. A government under 30% is in a very sorry state, particularly when the main opposition party is ahead by double-digits. It seems that the CAQ, despite its lacklustre performance, is set on bringing down the government in the spring. One would expect the PLQ to come down a little from their current honeymoon, and that should benefit Legault more than Marois. But Couillard's numbers are improving, not retreating. How the numbers move this fall will be interesting to watch.

24 comments:

  1. Wow, I'd say Quebec badly needs another party capable of reaching out to the non-francophones. While 93% support for the Liberals is impressive, I also find it rather sad. Looking back at the polls from the last election campaign, I can see the CAQ *almost* managed to break 20% among non-francophones, but the Liberals were still miles ahead (only dropping below 60% in a few polls); which is also sad since such a large proportion of people evidently felt they had no alternative to a decidedly lousy incumbent government. This is a demographic where I think a provincial NDP could potentially do some serious damage to the Liberals, but it remains to be seen whether such a party will ever materialize.

    Dom

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    1. The NDP was mulling it after their breakthrough, but I think they realized it would be more trouble than it was worth and have dropped it - for now. I imagine if they win a majority of seats again in 2015 they might seriously consider it.

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    2. It seems that the federal NDP realize the difficult fight they will be facing in 2015, so they probably don't want to invest resources in Quebec into a new little project yet.

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  2. Éric,

    The Liberals are in a mess. To win -- much less win big, they have to be seen as the identified choice of francophones. Pauline remains number one in that category...

    Our friend Philippe has to move those numbers much higher and quickly. Otherwise, expect another minority government in the spring, and not necessarily one called Liberal.

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  3. And after today's insanity over religious items??

    PQ collapses again !

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    Replies
    1. There goes the 3% of non-francophones supporting them...

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    2. I'd hope that many francophones find this sort of nanny state nonsense offensive too.

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  4. Peter,
    Éric,

    Peter, I agree with you to the extent that if Marois goes the same route as the Quebec Soccer Federation did while "waiting" for FIFA to give them cover (and what was by then already an obvious solution) then it will work against her with some francophones. But if the PQ chooses a moderate approach, as Éric is perhaps hinting, it will do little damage to francophone PQ support.

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    1. Marois is simply trying to deflect attention from the 75,000 job losses in July for Quebec. Her rabid secularism is unlikely to succeed, I would expect a Charter challenge should a law be enacted.

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    2. "should a law be enacted".

      It is very unlikely that will ever happen. The number of inquiries to the various court levels and the Charter simply preclude a law ever being passed !!

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    3. Perhaps we should all take a step back and see what law is actually proposed. So far, all of this has been based on a leaked report.

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    4. I think that actually would be a mistake. The best way to stop this kind of politics is protest. The louder and longer the better.

      If the pols see votes going away we know how they will react !

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    5. I'd prefer to crap all over racist ideas whenever possible.

      Whether or not it makes it into law, the idea is out there, and deserves to be attacked. Anyone who is so offended by the fact that someone else has faith needs to get a life.

      To paraphrase one of the comments on reddit, maybe instead of trying to regulate what kind of hats some people can wear, how about fixing the roads.

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    6. There are a fair amount of folks in other parts of the country that would like this too, which is all the more reason to dump on it imho.

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    7. Besides, isn't wild speculation based on incomplete information the whole fun of politics? And the whole point of this site? :)

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    8. Ryan,

      I think a case can be made that some religious articles may not conform with Canadian pluralism or may infringe on certain Charter rights. The infringement is probably alright so long as people do so out of free will but, if articles of faith are imposed without consent then the Government may have a moral reason for limiting certain religious attributes.

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    9. In what way shape or form could my own choice attire possibly infringe on someone else's Charter rights?

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    10. Well for instance, if someone refuses to remove the veil during testimony; that may impact on your right to a fair trial. Similarly, the wearing of a weapon may infringe on others' right to public safety in certain circumstances such as aboard airplanes.

      Also, it is important to differentiate between willingly and imposed attire. If someone is coerced to wear the niqab or a cross that certainly impacts them.

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    11. Below is a link to a story from the BBC about a woman who refused to take off her Burka in court. The judge ruled her identity could not be confirmed while in a Burka. In this case her attire hurts her ability (the accused) to have a fair trial.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-23814711

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    12. ... and those cases are already handled by existing law. So what's your point exactly?

      We're not talking about someone having to take their cross off when they go through a metal detector. Religious and personal freedom doesn't extend to putting other people in danger.

      This secularism charter has nothing to do with those cases at all. No one is going to have a heart attack and die because an office worker is wearing a kippah or a turban or a cross.

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    13. I don't think this is the appropriate venue for this discussion.

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    14. Those cases are not handled by existing law! They are dealt with on an ad hoc basis usually by the courts. This imposes undue cost the most serious being the timely administration of justice. Justice delayed is justice denied.

      The secularism charter has everything to do with these types of cases. Where do you think it would be applied? The Courts! More importantly because a law exists doesn't mean it can not be overturned through a Charter challenge.

      The question then before the courts is: Is the infringement justified?

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    15. We have to dial back to 2008 when Mario Dumont used identity politics to push the PQ into 3rd place.

      The PQ wants to recapture the nationalist vote away from QS on the Left and away from the CAQ on the Right via identity politics. Making the Liberals look like the anti-values party.

      It's simple electoral maneuvering for votes using identity politics. It might have worked for Dumont in 2008 during more economic prosperous times but we will have to wait and see if it works the same in a more difficult economic times in 2014.

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  5. Éric,

    An interesting read is found here:

    http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/en/browseSubjects/section33.asp

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