Poll suggests NDP is taking over Quebec City area
The Conservative fortress around Quebec City appears to be under attack by the same orange wave of NDP support that is sweeping across the rest of the province.
Le Soleil, the provincial capital's largest daily newspaper, published a CROP poll Friday morning suggesting that Jack Layton's NDP is leading in four of six Quebec City-area ridings that are currently held by Stephen Harper's Conservatives.
The poll was released the morning after Harper held a rally in Quebec City.
"I feel like I'm in my city," Harper declared in French at that rally, "a Conservative city."
The CROP poll consulted at least 400 people in each of the six ridings surveyed: Quebec, Beauport-Limoilou, Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles, Louis-Hébert, Louis-Saint-Laurent and Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier.
In all, 2,401 people were polled by CROP, and 34 per cent of them gave their support to the NDP while the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois were both at 27 per cent after doling out the undecided respondents. The Liberals were far behind at 10 per cent.
The phone poll was conducted between April 25 and 27 and has a margin of error of two per cent, 19 times out of 20.
For the results in the individual ridings, the margin of error goes up to five per cent, 19 times out of 20.
"It's totally amazing," Le Soleil's chief editorialist, Pierre Paul Noreau, told CTV Montreal's Kai Nagata. "I would say in our own newsroom, everyone is talking about it."
Josée Verner was the face of the Conservatives during the debate on the funding of a new arena for Quebec City, funding that was ultimately denied. She now finds herself in a dead heat in her riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent with NDP candidate Alexandrine Latendresse, as the poll suggests the two candidates are tied in support.
Sylvie Boucher, the incumbent in Beauport-Limoilou, is running third in her riding and sits nine points back of NDP candidate Raymond Côté, the poll suggests.
Côté is running for a third time under the NDP banner and says he's watched this shift toward his party gathering steam for years.
"Many, many people know Mr. Layton, and also have a very good opinion (of him)," Côté said.
Bloc Québécois seats are also being threatened by the NDP.
In the downtown Quebec riding, the poll suggests that Bloc incumbent Christiane Gagnon is tied with NDP newcomer Annick Papillion
Meanwhile, the poll suggests Bloc incumbent Pascal-Pierre Paillé is trailing the NDP's Denis Blanchette in Louis-Hébert riding.
"People like to maybe have something new," Gagnon says. "But they wanted something new with the Conservatives, and it failed. Now they say maybe we'll try NDP."
While the numbers appear encouraging for the NDP in Quebec City, the challenge will be to get those supporters to the ballot boxes on election day Monday as both the Conservatives and Bloc have powerful ground-level organizations in the region.