Wednesday, September 4, 2013

PQ gains among francophones in Léger poll

Le Devoir released the latest provincial numbers for Quebec from Léger Marketing over the long weekend, showing the Liberals still leading the way but now chased by a gaining Parti Québécois. With the governing party making inroads among francophones, they are now back in a position where re-election is a strong possibility.
Léger was last in the field in mid-June, and since then the Liberals slipped two points to 36%. The PQ was up five points, however, to 32%. That is their best result since February. The Coalition Avenir Québec was down one point to 18%, their worst number ever in a Léger poll.

Québec Solidaire dropped two points to 6% (note that they were at 11% as recently as May), while the Greens were unchanged at 3% and Option Nationale was down one point to 2%. Another 3% said they would vote for a different party, and 10% of the entire sample was undecided or gave no response (a drop of six points from June).

This is an online sample, so the margin of error does not apply. But if it did, only the PQ's gain of five points would be outside of it. A 13-point gain on satisfaction with the government is certainly significant, as satisfaction has reached 39%. That is the highest it has been from Léger since the PQ formed government. Dissatisfaction was down 13 points to 57%.

Important shifts in support occurred among francophones, as the Parti Québécois picked up seven points to lead with 40% among this demographic. The Liberals dropped five points to 25%, while the CAQ was up to 22%. Among non-francophones, the Liberals were up 11 points to 78% support, followed by the CAQ at 7%.

Though it may be a coincidence, this PQ gain among francophones and PLQ gain among non-francophones would seem to align well with the PQ's proposed Charter of Quebec Values. An earlier Léger poll found that Quebecers were generally approving of it, and this current poll pegged the PQ as the best party to 'defend and protect Quebec's culture and values'. Fully 47% of Quebecers chose the PQ on this question, compared to 16% for the PLQ and 12% for "none of them". The gap was nowhere near as large on other questions concerning fighting corruption and the handling the environment, for example. The PLQ was ahead on the economy and employment, with 35% to the PQ's 23% and the CAQ's 12%, which is a good thing for them. If the next election is going to be fought on the economy by the PLQ and culture by the PQ, it is not clear which side would win out.

The Liberals were steady throughout Quebec, leading with 39% in Quebec City and 38% in the Montreal region. They were in second in the regions of Quebec with 33%. The PQ led here, picking up nine points to reach 38%. They were up to 30% in Montreal and down to 19% in Quebec City, where the CAQ was second at 32%, a gain of eight points. The party was down to 17% in the regions and steady at 16% in the Montreal area.

Québec Solidaire was at only 3% support outside of the Montreal region, and slipped to 8% in the metropolis. The party seems to be fading back to where it was on election night after flirting with double-digits since the spring.

Due in large part to their advantage among francophones, the Parti Québécois would likely be able to pull more seats out of these numbers than the Liberals. They would win 61 to the PLQ's 57, while the CAQ would plummet to only five seats and Québec Solidaire would retain their two.

This would actually give the PQ some options, as they could try to form a coalition or loose arrangement with either the CAQ or QS to command a majority of seats. The PLQ, however, would be less well positioned than they currently are. They would need the support or the abstention of QS to win any vote in the National Assembly, along with the votes of the CAQ.

It should come as no surprise that the PQ can win more seats with a four-point deficit. In the 1998 election, the PQ was able to win a big majority government while being behind by about a point. The problem for the Liberals is their lower support among francophones. Note that when the party last won a majority government in 2008, the final poll of the campaign from Léger gave the PLQ 36% support among francophones. They are a long way from there. But Philippe Couillard does have some time before the next vote - everyone expects it in the spring, but with the CAQ polling at an all-time low there seems to be little incentive for François Legault to pull the plug.

29 comments:

  1. Time to ignore Quebec internal politics I think. The ferment won't disappear until after the next election at the earliest and quite possibly much later than that !

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    1. No, I don't think we'll ignore it.

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    2. No longer an economic engine it's becoming, like Ontario, a Third World copy.

      Plus it has lost most of, if not all, it's national political clout.

      Relevance is what counts and that's gone !!

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    3. 8 million people aren't relevant?

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    4. I think the poll is relevant. The results, particularly the poor showing of the CAQ, make it extremely unlikely the Marois Government will fall this Autumn. The CAQ and to a lesser extent the PLQ have little incentive to head to the polls.

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    5. I think Quebec is pretty damned relevant. Pretty damned interesting too - Alberta's the only other province with 4 parties in its legislature. It's also likely to have an election in the 12 months.

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  2. I don't think the Québécois public has properly thought this thing through yet. IMO, the majority support for it at this early stage is very much a knee-jerk reaction, a combination of Quebeckers' nationalistic inclinations and general support for all things "secular". The opposition to this Charter needs a strong voice to argue some sense into the public and make them realize the real-world consequences of this, which will basically be to make undeserved scapegoats out of a selection of people and drive even more already-underrepresented minorities away from the public service. I'm not fundamentally opposed to governments trying to influence cultural values, but I think it should generally only be done through promotion and positive reinforcement, never through punishment and bans (except perhaps in extreme situations, but the situations in question here are by no means extreme).

    Dom

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  3. The Leger poll also has federal vote numbers that seem to indicate that the NDP is almost tied with the Liberals in Quevec - Libs 35%, NDP 31%, BQ 23%

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    1. I talked about them here. A link is included:

      http://www.threehundredeight.com/p/canada.html

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  4. So a majority of the seats for sovereigntist parties; a majority of the votes for federalists and nationalists.

    Great.

    It kills me that CAQ is getting its lunch eaten by both sides here.

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    1. Depending on how you classify the ADQ, whenever the PQ has won the majority of seats federalists always had the majority of votes.

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    2. I don't think it'd be fair to simply paint them as federalists, but yah, even Levesque fell short of a majority of the vote didn't he. My perception at least is that median Quebecker is in between the federalist and sovereigntist camps, yet that viewpoint tends to get suppressed by the voting system it seems. Pity. Even more the pity that this issue sucks up so much oxygen, leaving little left for other pressing issues.

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  5. Peter, if both Québec and Ontario became countries overnight (for the sake of the argument), their nominal GDP per capita would be both in the top 25 countries in the world (in a ranking of nearly 200 countries). Both would also be over the European Union's weighted average.

    Furthermore, keep in mind that neither province has a significant petrol industry, and think about how low certain provinces could get economically if they lost their petrol industry.

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    1. Mathieu,

      I do not think that a fair comparison. Ontario does have a large refining industry and large petro-chemical industry as well as benefiting from other commodity industries such as mining and timber.. Quebec has many natural resources such as asbestos which is universally condemned as unsafe! My point being that all provinces benefit from natural resources therefore, they should be included with GDP.

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    2. Sorry but you aren't seeing the true picture.

      Quebec and Ontario no longer elect Govt's!! Thus their relevance has diminished !! Particularly Quebec !!

      So get used to reduced if not eliminated political influence !! Thus irrelevance !

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    3. I'm sorry, but that is a ridiculous statement. Ontario elected the last government in 2011, and Quebec has a shot of electing the next one.

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    4. Sorry Eric but you're wrong on both counts.

      The West is the current power centre, get used to it !!

      It selects Govt's not the East !!

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    5. Yes, the West with all 92 of its seats (soon to be 104, or 31% of all seats in the House!) selects the government.

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    6. Most of those 104 seats are so competitive too. They're real battlegrounds rural Alberta in particular is a three way battleground between the Liberals, NDP and Conservatives. Sure Ontario still has 17 more seats than all 4 western provinces combined, but since when does having a lot of seats mean you get to select government?

      I mean sure, Ontario has 36% of the seats in the House of Commons, and sure Ontario and Quebec combine for 59% of the seats, but it's not like those 199 seats really matter.

      Oh wait.

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    7. " but it's not like those 199 seats really matter."

      Only if they are Govt members !! And how many of those Quebec seats are in the Govt ??

      Nope Quebec has stepped away and that is bad for them !!

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    8. Peter, That's a weirdly totalitarian comment. As though a person is insignificant if they don't support the party that happens to win an election. I've never voted for a winning candidate (federally), never mind a winning party, but I've always felt my vote counted, nonetheless. We live in a pluralist society, and seats in opposition represent people's voices as do seats in government. Quebec hasn't stepped away from anything, people here have simply voted for their preference and their preference didn't win - it's not as though Parliament has no seats on the other side of the floor... Likewise, a point that's often forgotten, the governing party isn't only representative of the people that elected them, they are also supposed to represent everybody. True, the Harper government in practice does not operate that way, but that is their own fault, not the fault of anyone who voted otherwise.

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  6. In 2007, PQ's André Boisclair took the moderate road while ADQ's Mario Dumont took the ultra-nationalistic road on the issue of reasonable accommodations.

    The ADQ ended up becoming official opposition and the PQ was sent into 3rd place during 2007'S short lived Liberal minority government. But these issues work for a limited time in the short term when more pressing issue take center stage which ended up giving Jean Charest a majority again in 2008.

    The PQ wants those ultra-nationalists back in their camp and they are resorting to identity politics to do it. Like I said, it is a short term tactic and time is their biggest enemy.
    If the economic situation keeps on getting worse by April, then the temporary gains will go away.

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    1. I would agree.
      BTW I have no proof of this but I also think Boisclair may have suffered from a homophobic backlash w/ conservative nationalist rural voters. But certainly, that election and the PQ's poor showing under Marois has spooked the party. Chantal Hebert likens this to a hail mary pass for the rural vote and has promised a follow up piece soon in the Star.

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    2. The one thing that puzzles me is why we're not (yet) seeing the QS benefit from betrayal of the PQ's progressive wing/values. Hebert lists the "friendly fire" from a growing chorus of rather key progressive PQ voices, yet QS polling numbers are dropping, even with Aussant gone.

      Where will these progressive votes go, if this continues?

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  7. Shawn, the definition of the word progressive has a different meaning in Quebec. It is frozen in time in the 1960s/70s Tranquil Revolution era. It has not evolved much since then.

    They have always been old fashioned and conservative in terms of identity wedge issues.

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  8. I'm referring to the this seemingly growing chorus of PQ supporters who are speaking out against the charter, and doing so, it seems to me, in defence of Levesque's vision of a progressive state that is inclusive of minorities. I can't believe that these are only the media elites, here. That Montreal isn't home to a significant slice of non-xenophobic separatist voters (I live in the Plateau). I continue to think this *should* be driving more of these voters in Montreal to the QS -- yet it is clearly not, so far.

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    1. "Progressive" politics or "conservative" politics for that matter are tied to nationalism in Quebec. The PQ may be considered both "progressive" and "conservative"; it holds many left leaning political and labour policies co-existant with conservative nationalist policies. This co-habitation of policies may explain why a greater swing is not apparent as people disagree with one aspect of a party but, not the other.

      In any case that is my two cents.

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