Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Breaking down the Quebec vote

Ever since the controversial Mario Beaulieu became its leader in June, the Bloc Québécois has been drifting further into irrelevance. What kind of opportunity has this opened up for the other parties in Quebec?

To read the rest of the article on the CBC website, click here.

But let's go over the data quickly, first paying attention to the new Angus Reid Global poll released this morning.  Nationwide, it puts the Liberals ahead of the Conservatives by six points, finally putting Angus Reid in line with the consensus of other pollsters. I briefly analysed the poll here.

The Quebec results are of particular interest, as they break the deadlock between Léger and CROP. Léger gave the Liberals a 10-point lead in the province, while CROP gave the NDP the edge by two points. Angus Reid comes down on Léger's side, putting the Liberals ahead by six points.

As you can see, they tally among eligible voters for Angus Reid is quite close to Léger's. On the other hand, Angus Reid's estimation of likely voters puts it closer to CROP. But we saw in the Ontario election how likely voter models can come up short and are still in an experimental phase.

Angus Reid was also in agreement with CROP and Léger on preferences for prime minister: Thomas Mulcair was ahead of Justin Trudeau in all three polls.

Though CROP may be a little more bullish on the NDP in Quebec than other polls would consider appropriate, the poll does have some value for its regional breakdowns.

If we consider the NDP a little too high, we can still derive a lot of information from the CROP survey. It would still suggest an NDP lead among francophones, as Léger has it (albeit by a narrow margin). It would still put the NDP and Liberals in a close race throughout the province, though with the Liberals likely having the edge in each region instead of the NDP.

Otherwise, everything looks as it should be. The Bloc is stronger in the Montreal suburbs than in Montreal itself, and is polling best in the regions of the province. The 3% score in Quebec City is probably too low, but CROP has been putting the Bloc in single-digits in the capital for three consecutive polls now. The Parti Québécois is also polling badly in the region, where the Conservatives put up their best numbers.

Quebec will undoubtedly be the most interesting battleground of 2015, though its importance will still take a backseat to Ontario. But much is riding on what happens in Quebec. While the identity of the government will not be decided here (it won't be an election where either the NDP or Liberals would be in the running for government - it will have to be one or the other vs. the Conservatives), the province could decide the kind of government that is formed: majority or minority. And in the latter case, the number of seats it gives to either the Liberals or NDP could indeed make the difference between a Conservative (though likely short-lived) minority or one formed by either of the opposition parties. When was the last time the vote in Quebec will have mattered so much in a federal election?

44 comments:

  1. Maybe it's just me, but I find it odd that Francophones prefer the guy with the Irish last name, while non-Francophones prefer the guy with the French last name.

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    1. I appreciate that you're being tongue-in-cheek, but not everyone votes for their ethnicity, sometimes other issues - even policies - are involved.

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  2. Quebecers are very used to francophones - sometimes even unilingual francophones - having Irish/Anglo last names (e.g. Claude Ryan, Robert Burns, Daniel Johnson pere et fils etc...)

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    1. Many Quebecers have Irish ancestors as well. Like me!

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  3. Incumbency advantage will play a significant role for the NDP in Quebec.

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    1. The same way it played a significant role for the Bloc in the previous election?

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    2. The Bloc had been around for 2 decades and had become irrelevant. Neither is the case with the NDP.

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    3. But none of the voting trends in Quebec are stable yet. The NDP have only been in power for one term federally and now face a strong challenge from Trudeau's Liberals.

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    4. Ah, but in this case, the recentness of the NDP incumbency could be a good thing for them, as Québec voters tend not to turf parties out of office, at least provincially, after only one parliament. It has been this way since Bourassa's Liberals came to power, and the only exception has been the Marois government. I understand that we're talking about federal rather than provincial parties here, but we're also talking about the same pool of voters. I don't think they've tired of the NDP yet, the way they tired of the BQ after a couple of decades.

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    5. Speaking of incumbency it is perhaps interesting that all Liberals elected in 2011 were incumbents except Ted Hsu in Kingston.

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    6. caligari,

      Bingo. I totally agree about the NDP. They will be very competitive against Justin's Liberals.

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  4. I usually feel that Quebec internal politics vs Quebec internal Federal politics are two distinct items.

    Yes the NDP did fab Federally but who won the latest Quebec provincial election, not the NDP !!

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    1. Provincial & Federal politics are apples & oranges. + the provincial PLQ hasn't been affiliated with the Federal counter part since the 1960s.

      The Orange Wave of 2011 was all about Jack Layton + Bloc fatigue.

      Quebec loves popular charismatic figures, like P-E-T, Mulroney, Jack Layton. On the Federal level, Quebec tends to vote for the most charismatic candidate.

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    2. I find this poll slightly surprising. for one thing although the Liberals dominate among non-Francophones 57-29% thye NDP leads on the Island of Montreal 41-37%. As well the Tory vote in the Quebec City area is low at 24% yet, they still manage a respectable 13% province wide.

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    3. Mulcair was a provincial Liberal and a member of the federal NDP even as he served as a provincial Liberal cabinet minister (whose Premier is still a Conservative federally). The PLQ and PLC have little to do with each other.

      If anything, it was Mulcair's connections through provincial Liberal organization and network that helped him oust the Liberals from his Outremont riding and get candidates elected around the province. It was as much his victory as Layton's. The NDP got elected because they represent the centre-left values of mainstream Quebec. They are now a permanent force in Quebec, and will displace the Bloc.

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    4. "The Orange Wave of 2011 was all about Jack Layton + Bloc fatigue."

      Then why is Mulcair leading Trudeau in all three polls as prefered PM?

      The numbers contradict your claim.

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    5. Phil, In Trudeau's first election in 1968, in the midst of Trudeaumania, his party won 56 seats in Qc - exactly the number the party already held under Pearson. In the next election, coming just after the October Crisis, they kept the same number. In 1979, against Joe Clark (with his hopeless French and a party seen as hostile to Qc), the number increased. None of this points to some sort of Quebec fetish for charismatic leaders, anymore than in other provinces. In fact, the same goes for Mulroney, whose majorities were won across the whole country, not just in Quebec. As for Jack Layton, you have an argument there, because people in Quebec definitely had/have a soft spot for him, but Guy's point about Mulcair's organisation is also valid. It jsut seems reductionist and somewhat insulting to assert that Quebeckers vote only out of some irrational hero-worshipping proclivity - or that, to the extent they do, that it's any different than anywhere else.

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    6. I find it ironic that you call Joe Clark's PC at the time as ''hostile'' when 4 years later Quebec awarded Mulroney the mega Blue Wave that gave the PC its biggest majority win ever in Canadian history

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    7. No irony in that respect, Mulroney was Quebec-based and fluent in French, whereas Clark was, as Chretien once put it, even worse in French than he was in English. And there was a notable anti-Quebec corps among Clark's Conservatives. The real irony is that Quebeckers were the biggest backers of (Mulroney's) Free Trade, a policy that has hurt them greatly.

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    8. Guy, it's too soon to say whether the NDP are a permanent force in Quebec. They will definitely be a force in Quebec until the 2015 Election. But what if Mulcair loses Nationally in 2015 and then steps down? The NDP would drop in support without Mulcair as leader.

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    9. How has Free Trade hurt anyone? Free Trade has been a massive positive for everyone involved.

      Now, the Quebec dairy industry may be badly hurt by the new Free Trade deal with Europe, but the subsidies propping up Quebec dairy have been harming Canadian consumers for years. Overall, eliminating them will benefit Canadians, even if that industry suffers (or dies).

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  5. I don't think the Canadian system gives much of an advantage to incumbents, at least not compared to USA. If only we had a numbers guy around here... Hey Éric, what is the advantage that your model gives to incumbents?

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    1. Not having an incumbent reduces a party's projected support by a factor of .9, having an incumbent increases it by a factor of 1.08 (if the party is otherwise losing support).

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  6. NANOS

    The Liberals continue to trend up on the Index and now have an 11-point advantage, according to the latest data released Wednesday. The Liberals currently stand at 60.7 points out of 100 on the Index, followed by the NDP at 50.2 points, the Conservatives at 49.5 points and the Green Party at 31.5 points.

    The Liberals are up 5.2 points compared to May 30, while the NDP are up 2.3 points. The Conservatives are down 3.0 points, while the Greens are down by 1.3.

    The Party Power Index is a basket of political goods that rolls up ballot support, accessible voters, preferred prime minister and leader evaluations.

    Nanos Power Index is on main CTV website.

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    1. Why are you advertising for Nanos?

      His index is specious to be polite since, it is unverifiable. Why does Nanos not release his raw data? How is his data weighted? We simply don't know and that is why his party power index has not caight on-it could be an ingenious way of gauging party support or it could be a total crock since, Nanos does not release its raw data we simply have no way of knowing.

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  7. Ah yes, Angus Reid. Contrary to Eric's assertion, however, that they are now "in line" with other pollsters, their most recent poll is polar opposite of both the latest from NANOS and EKOS (Oct October 1).

    As mentioned above NANOS' "Power Index" which mixes a number of variables, including voting intentions, has the Liberals at 60.7 points out of 100, the NDP at 50.2 and the Conservatives trailing in THIRD place at 49.5.

    These numbers are supported by the October 1 EKOS poll with these startling support numbers: Liberals 38.3%, Conservative 24.9% and NDP 24.4%.

    Reading what's out there, I fail to see how one can say the recent AR numbers are "in line" with other pollsters.
    They're not. And someone's polling abacus is definitely out of whack.

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    1. The Nanos poll is an index that cannot be compared to standard voting intentions surveys. You're better off looking at Nanos's "Best PM" numbers, which are the only truly useful ones of the bunch.

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    2. James, you are right that AR differs from the other pollsters in that it still has lower Liberal numbers than say Abacus, EKOS, Forum, Ipsos Reid, etc.

      I think what Eric meant is that AR is now 'in line' with the other pollsters in that it had the Cons ahead before, and now it shows the Liberals gaining ground and caught up with the Cons.

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    3. I'd say Eric the Nanos thing is a better sense of the "feelings" of the public than a straight poll is. OK much harder to work with agreed.

      If the Liberals don't support the Harper war thrust watch what happens !!

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    4. I agree entirely with Eric the Nanos powerindex is not very useful for comparing to anything other than previous power index values. One should ask what an 11 point power advantage mean?......does it at all mean anything and what can you actually deduce about it. Its a weighted combination of factors which Nanos makes up. A voting intention poll is far more useful when it comes to how an election might go.

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  8. So CROP has the Conservatives in 3rd in Quebec City? Isn't that supposed to be their stronghold? I think other pollsters have had the Cons higher there. CROP is a reliable pollster over all, but sometimes they may overestimate NDP support by a few points, and underestimate Liberal & Conservative support by a few points.

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    1. "Stronghold" is a bit of an exaggeration. "Last stand" is is more like it. The NDP took all of Quebec City last election.

      The Conservative vote in Quebec City has actually remained steady at around 25%. With a three-way split on the centre-left, that was enough to win them a few seats before 2011 with strong candidates. But with the collapse of the Bloc (a decidedly left-wing party) the bulk of that vote went to the NDP.

      More interesting will be what happens in the Beauce, which is where the Conservatives still have seats. No doubt, the further collapse of the Bloc is seeing a migration of this vote to the Liberals and NDP. It will be interesting to see if the Conservatives can hang on to these seats.

      These MP's (along with those in Atlantic Canada and Toronto) must be getting very nervous. You might see them start to question Harper's leadership as the election approaches.

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    2. Guy,

      The BQ is not a decidely leftwing. Many could argue its natioanlist position is rightwing. In fact most of its positions are conservative; protecting the French language is a conservative stance, demanding all federal government business be conducted in French in Quebec is a nationalist-conservative policy, environmentalism and opposition to Muskrat falls are conservative policy positions. It is hard to argue that a policy aimed at conserving the environment and status quo is not conservative.

      No one will question Harper's leadership the issue is decided and he is the horse Tories will be putting forth. The polls are not that bad Trudeau still can't manage to get majority support and FPTP and the extra seats for 2015 favour the Tories. The increased popularity of the NDP of late is good news for Harper since a strong NDP disproportionately erodes Liberal support. I for one am very skeptical about the polls in BC. Almost inevitably the Liberals rise to near unheard of heights in the polls between elections only to fall to earth on election day. In the two years before the 2011 election the Liberals routinely polled 10-15 point higher than the 13% they received on e-day.

      At the end of the day Trudeau has not proven he either deserves or is capable of being PM. Both the Dippers and Tories will be hitting Trudeau hard in the next year. Liberals may think running on a policy of leghalised marijuana is a vote winner but unless they come up with more substantial policies and direction the charge of vacuousness will begin to take hold. Most parents even if they have dabbled in the past are not too eager to see their kids begin psychaedelic adventuring.

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    3. Left-wing nationalism does exist. It focuses on social equity, social democracy, self-determination, anti-imperialism and Rousseau style populist sovereignty.

      While there are right-leaning Quebec nationalists, the separatist movement as a whole leans to the left. Nationalist movements in Scotland and in many groups in the developing world also lean towards the left.

      The Bloc is generally regarded left of the Liberals on most (not all) issues.

      However, former Bloc voters can easily vote Conservative in the future. Won't be any surprise there. It happened to a small scale in 2006.

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    4. Bebe: The Bloc not left wing? Support for Kyoto, withdrawal from NAFTA, support for Quebec's decidedly left-wing unions, support for "antiglobalisation" protestors; they were actually way to the left of the NDP. They supported a strong, statist Quebec, which made them nationalistic, but it was to increase the role of the Quebec state in the lives of Quebecers. The exodus of the left from the party is why it collapsed and why Eastern Montreal and Quebec city went NDP. It will be helped by the continued exodus of the left form the Bloc.

      The objection to the Harper government subsidizing Muskrat Falls in Labrador came because it represents an incursion of the federal government into the area of natural resource development. That's completely in line with supporting Quebec's state-owned hydro industry. In fact, it illustrates how much this Harper government is willing to abandon conservative principles of not intruding into provincial jurisdiction for pork barrelling in Atlantic Canada and sticking it to Quebec. It illustrates precisely why Harper is hated in Quebec, even among Conservatives.

      Harper's leadership is now being openly challenged from within the Conservative caucus. In the confidence vote on the NDP motion to force government ministers to respond to opposition question, three Conservative MPs Michael Chong (On), James Rajotte (Ab) and Brian Storseth(Ab) voted with the NDP against the Harper government. This is unprecedented in a whipped vote. Now, Mississauga Conservative MP Brad Butt, who visited Iraq, openly questions the PMO's line that Canada needs to get involved in a combat mission. It makes perfect sense that even Conservatives would be hesitant to get Canada involved in another long, drawn-ot, draining quagmire a year before an election. With a restless and mistrustful caucus, it's not clear to me that Harper will muster enough votes to take Canada to war again. This could be his downfall.




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    5. Big Jay is right.

      Don't forget that the PQ and Bloc's brand of socio-democracy is still stuck in the 1960s and has not evolved much at all in the 21st Century.

      The Bloc has aligned itself with the PQ's stance on Ethnic Nationalism which is a Right-Wing thing and quite Conservative on nationalism..

      Look what happened to Maria Mourani, the Bloc dumped her because they reject inter-interculturalism and multiculturalism.

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  9. No matter how right leaning Quebec City may be, they are not guaranteed in the bag for any political party. They tend to vote as consensus for something or against something.

    Provincially on April 2014, they voted for Philippe Couillard over Francois Legault because they decided that Couillard had the best chances of dethroning Pauline Marois even if Legault was more on the Right.

    Harper's failure to act on Lac Mégantic has given everyone in Quebec the confirmation that he just does not care. It doesn't matter if your are left, center, right, souvernist or federalist. Everyone in Quebec from all regions and political leanings feel that Harper does not care.

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    1. Phil S,

      So much for the power of beginning every speech with a few lines in French...

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  10. That new EKOS polls makes no sense. There's a trend in the last 3 polls from them that literally no one else is seeing.

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  11. When will the ekos numbers be added to the average

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  12. How do you know who CROP "over-estimates" or "under-estimates" until they do a poll the day before election day and you get to compare it to actual results. For all we know CROP is right and Leger is underestimating NDP support...we won't know until actual votes are cast and counted.

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  13. I believe the Liberals will win a minority in 2015, but they will be denied a majority because of the Tories in Ontario and NDP in Quebec.

    The Tories and NDP won Ontario and Quebec by a decisive margin in the last election. The Liberals are certain to make gains in both provinces, but I am skeptical whether they would be able to win a majority of the seats in either province. The incumbency factor can give a slight edge to CPC and NDP MPs in close contests. I could see the NDP coming out of the next election with about 35-40 MPs elected in Quebec.

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    1. I think your prediction is the likely on target. Though a lot can happen in the mean time. Duffy trail could drag at the conservatives but a balanced budget could also gain a lot of attention too. The NDP could fade as voters look for an alternative to Harper, or possibly the Liberals botch their federal campaign and start to sink. That all said, I still think Liberal minority is the most likely outcome with the board arranged as it is today

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  14. And now to see what tomorrows debate on war does to ratings ??

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