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Poll shows PQ ahead of CAQ in voter intentions

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Premier François Legault believes that Quebecers are "angry" with him, as a new poll puts the Parti Québécois (PQ) ahead in the polls for the first time in nearly a decade.

According to the Pallas Data survey conducted for "L'actualité" and "Qc125," the PQ now has 30 per cent of the vote, compared with 24 per cent for the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), which has lost 10 points since September.

"I'm very aware that Quebecers are angry with me, and I'm going to try to do better to win back their trust," Legault commented briefly on his way to Question Period on Wednesday morning.

Legault had said on Nov. 1 that it was "sad to see the drop in support from Quebecers," after he learned of a Léger poll suggesting that the CAQ was falling in voting intentions.

"It encourages us," said the PQ MNA for Matane-Matapédia, Pascal Bérubé, on Wednesday. "It certainly reflects what we're hearing from the population. There's a credible alternative emerging."

In third place were Québec Solidaire (QS) and the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), who garnered 16 per cent support each. The Pallas Data poll was carried out Nov. 17-18 among 1,178 respondents; its margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

It comes just days after the Legault government announced a subsidy of between $5 and $7 million for the Los Angeles Kings to come and play two preparatory games in Quebec City next fall.

CAQ GRUMBLING INTENSIFIES

The announcement of the NHL subsidy has continued to arouse discontent among Quebecers and even within the CAQ caucus. On Wednesday, other CAQ MNAs publicly voiced their dissatisfaction.

"(My constituents) are telling me the same thing they're telling you. There aren't two opinions," said Youri Chassin, the CAQ MNA for Saint-Jérôme, in an impromptu press conference.

"There's a certain amount of discontent (because) of the latest decisions, some of them," said Marie-Louise Tardif, CAQ MNA for Laviolette-Saint-Maurice. "There is dissatisfaction," she added.

These comments come in addition to those made by CAQ MNAs for Lac-Saint-Jean and Beauce-Nord, Éric Girard and Luc Provençal, who on Tuesday said that financing professional hockey games with public money was "against (their) values."

They also follow comments by ministers Bernard Drainville and Andrée Laforest, as well as Jonquière's CAQ deputy Yannick Gagnon, who publicly questioned the "timing" of the subsidy announcement. Quebec is currently negotiating the renewal of collective agreements with the public sector, and Finance Minister Eric Girard said during the economic update that the financial framework was "tight."

The CAQ appear to be going through a difficult period, after granting a 30 per cent pay rise to MNAs and hastily resurrecting the third Québec-Lévis highway link following their crushing defeat in Jean-Talon.

Quebec Conservative Party (PCQ) leader Éric Duhaime again reached out to disappointed CAQ members on Wednesday, urging them to swell the Conservative ranks. According to the Pallas Data poll, the PCQ has 11 per cent support. 

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 22, 2023.

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