Poll shows increased support for Parti Quebecois government
Published Monday, January 20, 2014 8:19AM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 20, 2014 10:22PM EST
The latest Leger poll gives an electoral edge to the Parti Quebecois in contrast to a poll taken six weeks ago.
In a survey conducted on Friday and Saturday the PQ are now the party of choice for 36 per cent of Quebecers, with the Liberals close behind at 33 per cent support.
A total of 17 per cent of respondents favoured the CAQ, with an additional eight percent preferring Quebec Solidaire.
That is a drastic increase in support for the Parti Quebecois, and a highest level of support the party has had since before the 2012 election.
Since Sept. 2012 the PQ has polled anywhere from 33 to 27 per cent support, according to Leger.
A poll published on Dec. 7, 2013 had the Liberals leading at 37 per cent, with the PQ at 32 per cent.
This is also the first time since March 2013 that the Liberal party has polled lower than the PQ.
Regardless, political analyst Bryan Breguet of Too Close To Call says the change in support for the PQ and Liberals is not significant, but in an analysis of a the poll he predicts that if an election were held today, the PQ would be likely to win a majority government of 63 seats.
The increase in support for the PQ comes even as 58 per cent of Quebecers said they are unsatisfied with the work being done by Premier Pauline Marois and her government.
In all, 38 per cent said they were satisfied -- a 5 percentage point increase over the last Leger poll.
Premier Marois now has a path to victory should she call an election, said political analyst Jean Lapierre.
“Her numbers are going up, the Liberals are going down and she could foresee a majority,” he said, adding that he would advise her to go for it.
“I would prorogue the session, and come back in mid-February in the National Assembly with a speech from the throne and then pull the plug and I'd get people to vote on March 17 or 24 because I don't think she'll have many occasions like that,” he said.
In London Monday on a trade mission, Marois declined to comment on the polls, but said investors are sticking with Quebec.
“They are interested in our economic policy. They are interested in the workforce of Quebec,” she said.
Liberal leader Philippe Couillard said voters are being challenged.
“My feeling is that people are worried and they are confused,” said Couillard, adding that he feels the choice at the next election will be stark.
“Do they want to live in a society which is closing on itself you know withdrawing freedoms or do they want to live in an open inclusive society?”
Charter splitting population
The Leger poll, taken after the first three days of public hearings on the Charter of Values, shows strong support for measures to prevent all government employes from wearing religious symbols.
A total of 60 per cent were favourable or very favourable of the idea, while 35 were opposed or strongly opposed.
Support was not as strong when asked if individuals supported Bill 60. To that question only 48 per cent were in favour, while 41 per cent were opposed and 9 per cent could not say.
The PQ’s stand of the Charter is boosting the party, said Leger marketing vice-president of public affairs Sebastien Dallaire.
“It probably comes from the fact that a lot more people now are familiar and also comfortable with the PQ's position whereas the Liberal party's position has been a bit harder to follow in recent weeks,” he said.
Sovereignty support low
Support for one of the major planks in the PQ platform showed an increase but is still low, with 37 per cent of Quebecers saying they favoured an independent Quebec while 50 per cent were opposed. Another 12 per cent said they were undecided on the matter.
The poll also shows a significant drop in how Liberal leader Philippe Couillard is perceived, with a leap in support for Premier Marois.
A total of 27 per cent said Marois was or would be the best premier, while 20 per cent preferred Couillard.
In December, 24 per cent preferred Couillard while 21 per cent selected Marois.
A total of 13 per cent of those polled selected CAQ leader Francois Legault, while Quebec Solidaire leader Francoise David was the first choice of 8 per cent.
Leger surveyed 1207 Quebecers aged 18 and over on Jan. 17 and 18, 2014.
The online responses were weighted according to demographic information provided by the 2011 National Household Survey.
The margin of error is 2.8 % 19 times out of 20.