CROP was last in the field on October 16-20. Since that poll, the NDP has picked up four points to move into the lead in Quebec with 34% support. The Liberals dropped five points, the only shift outside the margin of error of similarly sized probabilistic samples, to 32%.
The Conservatives placed third in the poll, up one point to 16%, putting the Bloc Québécois in fourth with 14% (unchanged). The Greens had 4% support.
Of the entire sample, 10% was undecided and another 5% would not vote or did not respond to this question.
Note that support for Others (which would include Forces et Démocratie) was at 0%, as it always is in CROP's polling.
Is this slip by the Liberals a sign of trouble for the party? That is always a possibility, of course, but in CROP's polling we've seen the Liberals and NDP trade the lead back and forth for all of 2014.
There is little discernible trend in these numbers. The Liberals and NDP have been neck-and-neck throughout the year. But CROP did record the same sort of bump for the Liberals in the summer that other polls did, so it would seem that the party may be coming off that high to more usual levels of support.
A negative trend for the Bloc Québécois after Mario Beaulieu became leader in June, however, is readily apparent. The Conservatives are on the upswing, but that is from a very low point. They are still generally were they have been in the province since the last election.
The New Democrats increased their lead among election-deciding francophones, stretching it to 12 points with 39% support to 27% for the Liberals. The party has not trailed among francophones in any poll since February. The Bloc was at 17%, while the Conservatives were at 13%.
Among non-francophones, the Liberals tumbled 17 points to 49%, the lowest score they have managed among this group since before Justin Trudeau took over the party. The sample size is small, however, and would normally carry a margin of error of about eight points. Nevertheless, it may be something to keep an eye on.
The Conservatives were up to 29% among non-francophones, which might potentially put them in the running in a riding or two on the West Island. The NDP was third with 17%, followed by the Greens at 5% support.
The New Democrats were ahead on the island of Montreal as a whole with 42%, followed by the Liberals, who were down 15 points to 25%. The Bloc was at 16% and the Conservatives at 15% (coupled with their strong non-francophone numbers, this suggests they are doing very badly among island-dwelling francophones).
Off the island of Montreal but within the metropolitan region, the Liberals were narrowly ahead with 32% to 31% for the NDP. The Bloc had 19% support here, its highest in Quebec, while the Conservatives were up seven points to 16%.
In and around Quebec City, the NDP was in front with 40% support, followed by the Conservatives at 23% (their lowest since the spring) and the Liberals at 18% (their lowest since February 2013). The Bloc had 13% support in the provincial capital.
And in the rest of Quebec, the Liberals were ahead with 38% support to 31% for the NDP, 16% for the Conservatives, and just 10% for the Bloc Québécois. Considering the 'RoQ' is where all of the Bloc's current or former MPs were elected (save Mourani) in 2011, that spells a lot of trouble for the party.
Indeed, with these numbers the Bloc would be shut out entirely. The New Democrats would ride their advantage among francophones to around 49 seats, with the Liberals capturing 21 and the Conservatives taking eight.
It makes for a good poll for the NDP. Mulcair was ahead on who Quebecers preferred for Prime Minister with 29%, a gain of seven points since last month. Trudeau was down six points to 22%, while Stephen Harper had 13% support. As these numbers do not exclude undecideds or people who say 'none of the above', we can say that Mulcair and Harper appear to be about as popular as their own parties. Trudeau, however, scored five points lower than the Liberals before undecideds were excluded.
One interesting tidbit from the CROP poll was the breakdown of federal support by who Quebecers support at the provincial level. With these numbers, we see that Philippe Couillard's Liberal supporters primarily intend to vote for the federal Liberals (48%) and the Conservatives (31%). The Parti Québécois's supporters are split between the Bloc (44%) and the NDP (31%), while supporters of the Coalition Avenir Québec would vote for either the NDP (45%) or the Liberals (30%).
That the Bloc cannot even draw a majority of PQ voters to its banner is another nail in its coffin.
But we can also reverse these numbers to see where each of the federal parties draw their support from.
Quebecers who vote for the Bloc Québécois are primarily PQ supporters (about 70% by my own calculations), with a smattering of CAQ voters (14%). That makes for a rather simple coalition of nationalists.
The Liberals and Conservatives are a little less monochromatic. About 57% of the federal Liberals' base comes from the provincial Liberals, while another 25% comes from the CAQ. But these two parties generally see eye-to-eye on things (the CAQ has even accused the PLQ of borrowing liberally from its platform). The Conservatives have a similar breakdown, 66% of their voters being supporters of the PLQ and 19% of the CAQ.
The New Democrats have a much trickier coalition to keep together. Their largest block of supporters are drawn from the CAQ, at 35%. The PQ and Québec Solidaire each provide about 21% of the NDP's support base, while 19% are provincial Liberals.
There are many ways to divvy these NDP voters up. On the national divide, about 42% of them are sovereigntists (PQ+QS) and 77% of them are nationalist (adding the CAQ to that total). Put another way, 54% are federalist (CAQ+PLQ). The sovereigntist/federalist split also aligns with how the party's supporters are divided between centre-right and centre-left.
This makes for a potentially divisive coalition of voters. It is obvious why QS would support the NDP (the party has always been more of a left-wing party than it is a sovereigntist one), and the PQ and NDP have similar social democratic roots. But the NDP is also federalist, so that makes them an option for centre-left provincial Liberals, while the party is somewhat populist and an 'alternative' to the traditional two party system, which might attract CAQ voters.
On the other hand, that the NDP is federalist could push QS and PQ voters away in the spotlight of an election campaign, while it is further from the CAQ and PLQ on the left-right spectrum than either the Conservatives or the federal Liberals. It makes for a difficult balancing act for Thomas Mulcair.
But he seems to be mostly pulling it off. The old sovereigntist/federalist divide in Quebec is fading away, as voters move from one party to another. And even the left/right politics of the province are being turned on its head, as labour-busting Pierre-Karl Péladeau emerges as the saviour of the centre-left PQ. It makes for a complicated political landscape in the province. Perhaps that is why Mulcair, a veteran of the provincial scene, has managed it. So far.