Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Pollcast: The state of the Parti Québécois leadership race

The Parti Québécois last finished a leadership race in May, 2015. The next one, brought about by the sudden resignation of Pierre Karl Péladeau last month, will come to a close in October. Will the man who finished second last year come out on top this year?

You can listen to the podcast here and subscribe to the podcast here.

Alexandre Cloutier, MNA for the riding of Lac-Saint-Jean, took 29 per cent of the vote in his losing leadership bid in 2015. This time, he is widely seen as the campaign's front runner. A poll published last week by Léger gave him 37 per cent support among PQ voters, more than double the support of his nearest rival. About a dozen caucus members have endorsed him.

But the race is far from over and the debates over what strategy the Parti Québécois should adopt on the question of the next referendum still rage. 

Cloutier shares a similar position with Véronique Hivon, MNA for the riding of Joliette, in waiting for "winning conditions" before launching another referendum campaign on Quebec's independence.

Other contestants for the PQ's leadership have different takes. Jean-François Lisée, MNA for Rosemont, thinks a referendum should not be held in a first mandate should the party form government. Martine Ouellet, the MNA for Vachon who took 13 per cent of the vote as a leadership contestant last year, thinks the party should hold a referendum as soon as possible.

Polls suggest support for sovereignty is still low and that there is little enthusiasm for another referendum in the short term. But the uncertainty over whether the party would hold a referendum if re-elected helped doom the PQ's campaign in 2014. Will the PQ's membership endorse Cloutier or Hivon's less well-defined position, or opt for the clarity offered by Lisée or Ouellet?

Joining me to discuss the race and Léger's latest poll numbers is Christian Bourque, executive vice-president at Léger.

You can listen to the podcast here and subscribe to the podcast here.

2015 federal election saw youth vote in unprecedented numbers

The 2015 federal election saw a huge increase in turnout among young Canadians — particularly young Canadian women — according to data released by Elections Canada.

While there was an increase among all age groups, the biggest occurred among eligible voters aged 18 to 24, the elections agency said. Turnout among this group increased 18.3 points, to 57.1 per cent compared to 38.8 per cent in 2011.

Elections Canada said Wednesday this is the biggest increase in turnout among this age group since it began making demographic turnout estimates in 2004.

You can read the rest of this article here.

It might be a long wait before Tory, NDP leadership contenders make the jump

And they're off! Eventually.

The Conservative and NDP leadership campaigns are taking some time to get going. In addition to being abnormally long, they both suffer from a lack of high-profile candidates officially in the running.

So when will the serious contenders step forward?

The Conservatives will choose their next leader on May 27, 2017, while the New Democrats will hold their leadership vote between Sept. 17 and Oct. 31, 2017. Three contestants have entered the Conservative race: Maxime Bernier, Michael Chong and Kellie Leitch. No official candidates have yet emerged on the NDP side.

The conventional wisdom is that the higher profile candidates may wait a significant amount of time before taking the plunge — and with good reason, according to an analysis of how federal and provincial leadership races have played out over the last decade.

You can read the rest of this analysis on past leadership races here.