Poll analysts are fond of saying that “more research will be needed to see if these trends continue”… Faced with the unknown, a scientist naturally runs into walls of uncertainty.
Léger’s latest poll on politics in Quebec (published March 11 in Le Journal de Montreal / Le Journal de Quebec) is one of those opinion polls that confirm trends.
With 41% support in Quebec, the François Lego Avenir Québec (CAQ) Coalition seems to have found a new cruising speed after the fall seen in January. Quebecers are closer to their government than they were at the beginning of the pandemic (we measured sky-high approval levels of over 85%…), but the CAQ remains in a good position to be re-elected in six months. This is even unheard of in over 30 years. We have to go back to 1989, before the re-election of Robert Bourasse against Jacques Parisot, to see such dominance of the ruling party in the months before the general election.
Not only is the CAQ holding its own above its 2018 election results, but it is also facing an opposition that has never been more divided, according to current data. The two parties that led Quebec alternately from 1970 to 2018 are even in turmoil. Thus, the CAQ’s dominance is due both to its good poll results (and high levels of satisfaction with the government) and to the absolutely disastrous performance of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) and the Parti Québécois (PQ).
According to the latest Qc125 update, CAQ is considered the favorite in 97 heats. It covers almost all of the 450 motorway, Mauricy, Center du Quebec, Estri, Abitibi and the Saguenay region. Dominic Anglada’s PLQ drop detected even gives the possibility of CAQ making a breakthrough in Montreal and Laval. In the Capitale-Nationale and neighboring Chaudière-Appalaches, despite the interesting numbers of the Quebec Conservative Party of Eric Duhem (PCQ), the CAQ would have won an overwhelming majority of seats if the vote had taken place this week. In addition, the decline in PQ support opens the door for a potential CAQ breakout in the Bas Saint Laurent and Gaspesie.
So it’s total domination.
What will be left for the opposition parties then? Dominique Anglada’s PLQ collects only crumbs among French-speaking voters (11% according to Léger). Faced with such a field of ruins, the PLQ will be swept away from French-speaking Quebec. He will even have to hit record highs with non-Francophones if he wants to keep some of his Montreal successes like Anjou-Louis-Riel, Maurice-Richard and Verdun. Outside the island, only Pontiac rides in Utaue and Shomede in Laval will remain free.
It will be difficult for a liberal leader to resist this current. Dominique Anglade is less popular than her party, which is considered the best candidate for prime minister by just 9% of respondents, including a meager 4% among French-speaking voters. Therefore, a short-term recovery seems unlikely. Even among PLQ voters, Dominic Anglade is the favorite of only 45% of those polled.
As mentioned in a recent column, current data shows little progress for Québec Solidaire (QS) since the 2018 election, when the party more than doubled its share of the vote compared to the 2014 poll. According to Léger, QS receives 14% of the vote. intention to vote, and Parliamentary leader Gabriel Naude-Dubois inspires a similar percentage of Quebecers as a candidate for prime minister.
At 10%, the Party Québécois does not improve. The PCQ not only overtook the party of Saint-Pierre Plamondon, but the Conservative leader Eric Duhem has already achieved more favorable results among his constituents than the PQ leader. Thus, Duhem is the top candidate for prime minister by 86% of PCQ voters; Saint-Pierre Plamondon owns only 31% of PQ members. Among the general population, Saint-Pierre Plamondon struggles with marginal error, with only 3% of voters considering him the best prime minister.
The victory in the by-elections in Marie-Victorin on April 11 may yet give new impetus to the forces of independence. However, unless this constituency is a separate political ecosystem from the other 450, or there is no significant “Nantel effect” (not detectable in national polls), this seems unlikely. Sluggish by-election turnout makes these democratic exercises difficult to predict. Moreover, during the last partial vote in Marie-Victorin in 2016 (following the departure of Bernard Drenville), only 26% of registered voters exercised their right to vote. So if PQ voters go to the polls en masse to support Pierre Nantel, he might surprise and bring rare good news to his new party.
However, PQ also needs to look in its rearview mirror, because not only has Eric Duhem’s PCQ grown rapidly in voting intentions since the fall, but the Lego government’s announcement of a phasing out of health measures does not seem to have dented PKK support. With nearly a quarter of voters in the Quebec region tend to vote for the former local columnist and celebrity radio host, PCQ is competitive on half a dozen trips to the Capitale-Nationale and Beauce.
Can the PCQ surpass the Parti Québécois in votes and seats this fall? A few months ago, such an opportunity was not even in the field of view of analysts. Now this must be taken into account.
Now the question is whether Duhem can translate this (still theoretical) support into ballots at the polls, or whether the PCQ will be just an ephemeral anti-systemic protest movement sparked by the response of some citizens to last year’s health crisis and limited to the Internet.