Thursday, November 21, 2013

Federal Liberals up among francophones

A new survey by CROP for La Presse was released yesterday, showing that the Parti Québécois's string of improving poll numbers has been stopped in its tracks and that the provincial scene has settled down. The poll also showed that the federal Liberals have moved into a definitive lead over the New Democrats in Quebec after running neck-and-neck in CROP's polling during September and October.
CROP was last in the field Oct. 17-21, and had put the Liberals and NDP in a tie at 31%. But since that poll, the Liberals have jumped five points to 36% in the province, against a drop of three points for the NDP to 28%. The Bloc Québécois was down two points to 16% while the Conservatives were down a point to 13%. The Greens were up a point to 7%.

Of the entire sample, 10% were undecided and another 7% did not respond to this particular question.

While the movement of the other parties would be within the margin of error of a probabilistic poll, the gain of the Liberals would be statistically significant. It puts them closer to where they were during the April to August period, while the New Democrats have been stuck between 27% and 33% in CROP's polling for the last seven months.

The Liberals' gain seems to have occurred primarily due to an increase in support from francophones. With a significant gain of six points, the Liberals tied the NDP at 31% among this demographic. That put the two parties well ahead of the Bloc at 19% and the Conservatives at 11%. The Liberals had 57% support among non-francophones, followed by the Conservatives at 19% and the NDP at 14%.

Regionally, the strongest Liberal lead was in the suburbs around Montreal, where the party had 41% support against 24% for the NDP and 16% for the Bloc. On the island itself, the margin was narrower with the Liberals at 34%, the NDP at 26%, and the Conservatives at 17%.

The Liberals and New Democrats were almost tied in the regions of Quebec, with 35% support for the Liberals and 33% for the NDP. The Bloc was third in this part of the province with 17%.

The closest race of all is in Quebec City, however, where the Conservatives were narrowly in front with 29% support. The NDP was up to 28% while the Liberals had fallen to 25% in the provincial capital.

On who would make the best prime minister, Justin Trudeau was unchanged at 26%, while Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper each dropped a point to 24% and 10%, respectively. These numbers generally line-up with the voting intentions numbers before removing the undecideds.
Using the regional results from the CROP poll, the model gives the Liberals 42 seats in Quebec against 32 for the New Democrats and four for the Conservatives. The Liberals spread their seats throughout the province but more than half of them are won in the region of Montreal. The New Democrats win most of their seats in the rest of Quebec.

Provincially, the race is far closer. Though the PQ has opted not to call an election this fall, the province is still on a pre-election footing as most believe that the Liberals and Coalition Avenir Québec will team up to defeat the government on the next budget, or the PQ will engineer its own defeat over a vote on the charter. In either case, the election is likely to occur in the spring.
CROP suggests that things have been holding steady, with no significant shifts in support since their Oct. 17-21 poll.

The Liberals remained in the lead with 37%, down one point, while the PQ was down two points to 32% (where they were in the 2012 election). The CAQ was up two points to 17%, as was Québec Solidaire, to 10%. Option Nationale was down two points to 2% and support for other parties was also at 2%.

Of the entire sample, 11% was undecided and another 6% did not answer the voting intentions question. That is virtually unchanged from October.

Satisfaction with the PQ government dropped three points to 32%, its lowest level since June. Similarly, the PQ dropped for the first time in CROP's polling after four consecutive recorded increases, from 24% to 34%, over the last few months. Their 'momentum' seems to have hit its ceiling.

The PQ led among francophones with 39%, followed by the Liberals at 27% and the CAQ at 19%. Among non-francophones, the Liberals had 84% support to 8% for the CAQ and 4% for Québec Solidaire.

The Liberals held wide leads on the island of Montreal (49% to 30% for the PQ and 12% for the CAQ) and in the surrounding suburbs. There, the party was up 12 points to 44%, while the PQ was down 14 points to 27%. The CAQ was third with 18%, while QS was up six points to 10%.

In Quebec City, the Liberals dropped to 36% and the PQ was up 11 points to 32%, followed by the CAQ at 25%. In the rest of Quebec, the PQ led with 37% to 26% for the Liberals and 19% for the CAQ. That represented a seven-point gain for the CAQ.
With CROP's regional numbers, the Liberals would likely win 60 seats, with 57 going to the Parti Québécois, seven to the CAQ, and just one to Québec Solidaire (at 9% on the island of Montreal, the party is down three points while the PQ is up six over the 2012 election).

The Liberals win more than half of their seats in the Montreal area, but also win the majority of seats in Quebec City and put up strong numbers in the regions. The PQ wins almost two-thirds of their seats in the regions, but are competitive in the suburbs and win the usual suspects on the island. The CAQ is pushed out of the suburbs to their base in the Quebec City and central Quebec.

A three-seat margin in the projection is virtually meaningless, and the Liberals missing the majority threshold by three seats is also too close to conclude definitively who would be more likely to win, and what form the government would take. I'd reckon a roughly 58% chance that the PLQ would emerge with more seats in this scenario, little better than a coin-flip.

But the steady support for the Liberals masks an increase for Philippe Couillard. On who would make the best premier, Couillard was up four points to 26%. Pauline Marois was down two points to 21%, while François Legault was unchanged at 13%. Interestingly, unlike the federal numbers these leadership numbers suggest that Couillard and Marois are less popular than their own parties to a considerable degree (Couillard scored five points less than his party when undecideds were included, Marois scored six points less). In the spring, Couillard was scoring only two or three points less than his party.

It will be interesting to see how Couillard's numbers will move in the next month. This poll was taken at around the same time as Fatima Houda-Pepin, a Liberal MNA of Morroccan descent, expressed her disagreement with part of her party's position on reasonable accommodations. It doesn't seem to have hurt either the PLQ or Couillard, but the poll was taken before the last few days when Couillard back-pedaled and reversed himself on the charter to some degree. If anything, it has at least taken the focus off the PQ for a week or two.

This could have an effect on Couillard's numbers in several different ways. It could make him seem like a weak leader who has little control over his caucus. It could disappoint those who are firmly against the charter (though they have few other options on the ballot). On the other hand, it could make him look flexible, and it could attract support from francophones who have mixed feelings about the charter but who are not entirely opposed to the concept. Considering all these possibilities, it could also very well balance out. We will have to see where the Liberals sit in polling by Léger and CROP in the coming weeks.

25 comments:

  1. Now if we could just get rid of those four Conservative members ?

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    1. I'd humbly suggest that that would be very bad for the country, Peter.

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    2. Where's your sense of humour? Just think how Quebec don't need Cons. They've got three parties without them. Plus it's more seats for the Libs, eh?

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    3. A government without seats in Quebec would be very bad for the country.

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    4. And who says the Tories will be the next Govt. Ryan? Polls sure don't

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    5. Eventually they will be. We don't need a repeat of what 1980 was for the Liberals and the West.

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    6. Peter,

      I don't think the good people of the Beauce will ever toss out Bernier.

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    7. Simon

      Probably true but could he cross the floor ??

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    8. I don't know Peter. Could Max Bernier pull off a Keith Martin or Scott Brison? Not so sure of that. They are pretty right wing in Beauce. More like shades of Ralph Stewart, if you ask me.

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  2. Damnit Couillard - you were decency's last best hope.

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  3. This poll looks like really weird when we check the regional numbers. The PQ at 39% for the francophones but only 27% in the suburbs just look impossible. With a PLQ at 44% in the suburbs how is it possible to have the PLQ at 27% for the francophones. Also 32% for the PQ seems massive in the national capital. Don't know if it's only me but I prefer to wait for léger. In Quebec provincial scene Leger just seems better than crop.

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    1. Thomas,

      Yes, this poll is extremely odd. I question whether the numbers are accurate, were they perhaps transposed or transcribed incorrectly?

      I just do not see how the 39% among Francophones is accrued. We know in greater Montreal the PQ is at about 29% since both the Island and suburbs each account for roughly 50% of greater Montreal's population. We also know that Montrealais account for roughly 44% of Quebec Francophones (70% of greater Montreal residents are Francophones=2.8million). That would mean among the remaining 56% of the Francophone population the PQ would need to score roughly 60% support to achieve the 39% in the poll. However, in the remaining regionals samples the PQ scores no better than 37%.

      If anyone has any ideas about how this poll can be correct using the regional numbers I would be interested to hear (or if someone thinks my math wrong etc...)

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    2. I would merely point out that the regions outside of Montreal are not 100% francophone.

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    3. I'm not sure of your math, but it is late. But if 70% of the MTL RMR is francophone, and the PQ had 28% in the MTL RMR (almost all of it francophone), that would suggest that the PQ had about 40% support among francophones in the MTL RMR.

      So, at that point, it is not difficult to see how the PQ would end up at 39% among francophones with 32% and 37% in Quebec City and the regions. Give or take the rounding errors, and there you go.

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    4. I noticed that too. The PQ didn't really do too well here though last election. The CAQ was strong in the suburbs, and that vote seems to be fleeing towards the Liberals.

      It's probably also young allophone and anglophone families moving into. Saint Lazare, Brossard, Chomedey, Saint Dorothee, etc. These areas are growing quickly and they're very high density. With only 1% of non-francophone choosing the PQ, a slight demographic shift like this could easily tip the balance against the PQ.

      I don't think I've ever seen support for the PQ as low as 1% among non-francophones. I guess Pauline Marois' little project to turn the PQ into the Front Nationale has scared away anyone that was left after Parizeau.

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    5. I really don't think it is fair to compare the PQ to the Front National when the charter is based primarily on French laws passed and supported by the UMP and Socialists in France. Let's keep some perspective, please.

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    6. I am keeping a perspective: that of the 99% of non-francophones in Quebec that do not support the PQ. That makes an awfully strong statement of which voters the PQ is targeting with this "Values Charter. It's pretty clear that Quebec Solidaire has bled off 10% of PQ support (including sovereignist allo/anglos) on the left, and the PQ is turning hard to the right to survive.

      Both French and Quebec laws are a response to a spiteful Islamophobia that borders on religious persecution. Both measures are a pander to a white, nativist, xenophobic elements in society. It may not be politically correct to say so in the francophone media in Quebec, but it's an ugly political reality.

      Socialists in France supported these measures in reaction to a surge in support for the Front Nationale. This element is way less prominent in Quebec than in France, thank God, but the PQ seems to feel it will help them stay alive through another election. .

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    7. The suburbs are more or less 80% french so 27/80 give us 33.75% of the francophones votes PQ in the suburbs.

      33.75% Suburbs
      32% Quebec city
      37% Rest of Quebec

      What I did not saw is that the PQ manage a huge number in Montreal proper without any allo/anglo votes. 30 % of votes from the more or less 57 % french speakers is massive. More than 50% of the francophones in Montreal would vote PQ.

      33.75% suburbs
      32% Quebec city
      37% Rest of Quebec
      52% Montreal island

      This average around 39% I guess if we consider that the island is the part with the smallest number of francophones

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  4. For the federal seat projection : "The Liberals spread their seats throughout the province but more than half of them are won in the region of Montreal. "

    Looking at the seat count this is really not clear... are we supposed to understand that Suburbs means "suburbs of Montreal" ? I'm sorry if I'm just missing something that is obvious

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    1. Yes, Montreal refers to the island itself, while the suburbs refers to those areas around the island that are part of the CMA (Laval, Longueuil, Blainville, etc.).

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  5. I've noticed that Liberal fortunes sometimes spill between provincial and federal levels in Quebec in polls. I'm wondering if asking people about provincial and federal preferences doesn't bias people towards Liberals because the name is mentioned twice, especially between elections when people are not paying close attention. Could it be that if Trudeau has a good week that it gives the provincial Liberals a 2-3% bump? Has anyone done a correlation analysis to verify a link?

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  6. What do you think about NOW's critique of the last Forum poll on Rob Ford?

    http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=195464

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    1. Not much I'm afraid. There are reasons to criticize Forum's poll, but 'who paid for it' (no one) and that it was released to the Sun means nothing, and the 'news flash' bit about the poll surveying only Ford's supporters is wrong.

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  7. Yeah, that's what I thought.

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  8. So Justin Trudeau is ahead of Tom Mulcair in the latest CROP poll? I wonder if Mulcair will lie like he has in the past and go on t.v. and say Trudeau doesn't lead him in a single Quebec poll? I'm still dismayed that Mulcair has flat-out lied about the polls like that in the past.

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