Thursday, March 13, 2014

Post-PKP, Liberals gain in Quebec City

The first poll to emerge out of Quebec since the candidacy of Pierre Karl Péladeau was announced on Sunday was released this morning. It only looks at Quebec City, however, so we should exercise caution when drawing wider conclusions from the results. That being said, the poll does hint that Péladeau's effect may not be uniform across the province.

The poll has been added to the projection, though only for the Quebec City region itself. The effect is relatively small, but does boost the Liberals by one more seat at the expense of the CAQ. The Liberals are now projected to have between 36% and 42% support in the region, against 31% to 35% for the PQ and 19% to 22% for the CAQ. The Liberals would likely win between six and nine seats in the region at these levels of support, with the PQ winning two or three seats and the CAQ winning as many as two or as few as none.

In the chart below, I've included the latest poll from Léger (done for FM93) as well as the results of Léger's previous two polls in the Quebec City region.
The Léger poll gives the Liberals the lead in the region with 39%, a gain of seven points since Léger's pre-campaign poll. That gain is outside of the margin of error - or at least the margin of error of a probabilistic sample (Léger's polls, like those of CROP, are done online).

The Parti Québécois placed second with 32%, an insignificant gain of one point. The Coalition Avenir Québec, meanwhile, dropped five points to just 19%. That is within the theoretical margin of error, but only just, so it is likely real.

Québec Solidaire had 7% support, followed by Option Nationale, the Greens, and other parties with 1% support apiece. One in ten respondents were undecided or did not respond to this question.

This is the best number the Liberals have managed in Quebec City in polls by Léger and CROP since August 2013. The PQ, however, has been very stable. Polls by the two firms have pegged the party's support at between 30% and 35% since January (including the latest CROP). For the CAQ, this is their worst result in a non-Forum poll since October 2013 and an important drop, since earlier polls by Forum, CROP, and Léger conducted in the last few weeks all agreed that the party had between 22% and 24% support in the region.

In the context of the last three Léger polls, there is no clear trend for the Liberals. The PQ has gained, however, picking up eight points since January (which would be outside the theoretical margin of error). The CAQ has shed 10 points in just a few months.

A little more context: in the 2012 election, the CAQ took 38% support in the region, followed by 31% for the Liberals and 22% for the PQ. This means that the CAQ has dropped 19 points - a huge number. Eight of those points have gone to the Liberals and 10 have gone to the PQ. In this regard, the results of the poll are not as negative for the PQ as it would appear at first glance, though it makes them even worse for the CAQ.

But compared to the effect that the PQ hopes Péladeau will have on the race, the numbers might be a letdown. However, perhaps the results are not so surprising. If Péladeau sends the signal that the PQ can win the next election in a big fashion, that might encourage CAQ supporters to instead vote for the Liberals, who have the best shot of blocking the PQ from forming government. This is particularly the case in Quebec City, which is not nearly as pro-independence as other francophone regions in the province. The PQ may have maxed out the gains they could plausibly make in Quebec City already.

The question that the next set of province wide polls will help answer is whether the same effect will occur in the rest of the province. In francophone regions that have historically not been as opposed to sovereignty, Péladeau may give the PQ the kind of boost they are looking for. Nevertheless, this Léger poll suggests that he has the potential to be a polarizing figure. He may boost the PQ somewhat and solidify their support, but if he also encourages CAQ supporters who dislike the PQ more than the Liberals to cast their ballot for Philippe Couillard, his influence may not be as positive as Pauline Marois hopes. We'll soon find out.

18 comments:

  1. I will be very interested to see if the PQ starts to shed votes on the left because of PKP. Bringing him on as a candidate seems almost to be a calculated provocation by Marois of the PQ's left/labour wing. PKP is devoutly anti-union and yet has joined up with the party that has been, and to a significant degree still is, affiliated with the provinces labour movement. Marois must be banking on the notion that labour has no where else to go, and hoping they don't decide that QS is an acceptable option.

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    1. It's hard to tell exactly what's going on.

      It could simply be, as many pundits have speculated, that the PQ recognized that their biggest weakness vs. the Liberals was economic credibility, so they brought in PKP in the hopes of conquering that weakness, calculating that the support they would consequently gain from the CAQ on the right would outweigh any support they might lose to QS on the left.

      On the other hand, although most pundits seem to be arguing that PKP's forceful endorsement of QC independence has thrown the PQ "off message", the way I see it there's a chance it might have been deliberate. The thing is, when support for sovereignty wanes and it starts to seem intangible, as it had been over the last bunch of years, its adherents tend to split into factions: e.g. Québec Solidaire, Union Nationale. However, when the sovereignty movement manages to get really fired up and its adherents start to "believe" it could really happen, it can create remarkable solidarity among people spanning pretty much the entire conventional political spectrum. So I submit that there's a slight chance that this is a calculated gamble by the PQ to recruit a candidate of such high profile (many seem to be comparing him to Bouchard, although I personally think that's a stretch) that it gets sovereignty sympathizers "believing" again and willing to set aside left-right differences in a solidary effort to achieve independence. Just maybe.

      Dom

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  2. Ultra-Nationalists CAQ supporters bleed towards the PQ.
    Federalist CAQ supporters bleed towards the PLQ.

    Quebec City are wearing of never getting the Nordiques if the PQ won't stop talking about independence.

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    1. The polling sure seems to show exactly this. If you look at Eric's post below, you can see that the second choice of most remaining CAQ voters are the Liberals. If that vote goes, you might see

      My guess is that the PQ has won over everybody they can with the Charter and that the remaining CAQ loyalists are mostly federal Conservatives that will bolt to the Liberals with Peladeau's very ardent talk of independence. I think the PQ misjudged that attracting a business mogul and running him in a CAQ riding would win over traditional "bleu" voters. If CAQ voters react the way they did in Quebec, this is bad news for the PQ indeed.

      I think the PQ will end up confusing everyone in the end. . Even their campaign slogan "stonger, more porsperous, more independent, more welcoming" is confusing and sending mixed signals. If this sends the Union vote towards QS, it could be a disaster for the PQ.



      .

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    2. I don't think Quebec will ever get the Nordiques back. The NHL simply doesn't want a francophone team with a limited TV market and advertising rights. Unless another team is about to fold a la Atlanta Thrashers Quebec is out of luck.

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    3. I think the NHL likes money. If Quebec City has a group willing to pay the outrageous expansion fee, Quebec City will get a team.

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    4. Yes I think you are correct Eric. Money is everything to the NHL.
      That's why you won't see any NHL players in the 2018 Winter Olympics. It cost the owners far too much in this year in lost revenue !! Can't have that you know !!

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    5. If money was all it took Winnipeg would not have a team. I agree the NHL likes money but, Bettman has been reluctant to give up on his Southern NHL dream. The Peg got a team because the alternative was Atlanta would fold and desperate times call for desperate measures. Bettman has shown that he will do almost anything to keep his Southern dream alive (just ask Balsille) and the NHL is not positioning itself for more expansion at least not at the moment. Balsille was willing to pay a huge expansion fee and get rid of the problem child Phoenix Coyotes but, Bettman didn't budge. If bettman isn't willing to put a second team in Southern Ontario he certainly will not be jumping up and down at the prospect of Le Nordiques part II.

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  3. The Liberals will win this election. The only question is whether they get a majority or minority. PKP has shifted the focus of the election from anything else to sovereignty. The people of Quebec do not want another referendum, nor do they want independence..

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    1. I think you are a bit quick to jump the gun on the outcome of this election. Whether or not the population wants a referendum is not the question. Remember, to make it to government, you don't need 50% + 1 of the votes, you just need more seats than the other parties, and 63 precisely in Québec to make it a majority. With 35% of the vote, the PQ has a chance at a majority government. With 32%, it still has the chance at a minority government, and with QS at 2 potentially 3 seats, it could be enough to start a referendum process. And those percentages are very far from being impossible to achieve, considering that the yes option is scoring at about 40% in polls.

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    2. In Westminster systems a bare majority of seats, 63 in Quebec, does not automatically translate into a majority government. If the Speaker is from the Government then the election of the Speaker effectively reduces the government caucus to a minority, 62 seats since the Speaker is never a member of a caucus.

      The other important thing to remember is that conventions have developed regarding how the Speaker votes, the Denison Rule. The Speaker votes in favour of continuing debate but against enactment of bills and confidence measures. What this means is the Speaker votes in favour at first and second reading but votes in the negative at third reading. In an evenly divided house the Government will not be able to pass legislation including a budget.

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  4. Smell seems to show a PQ loss? Now who gets the Govt is the question ??

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  5. Check out Chantal Hebert in today's Toronto Star. Very interesting shifts going on.

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  6. Why havent you updated the 308 projection a new poll just came out: PQ 37%, PLQ 37%, CAQ 14%, QS 9%

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    1. Because it is the weekend and I had to clean the house and now I think I'll go cross-country skiing.

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    2. Pff, next thing you know people will think you can take time off to eat and sleep!

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