PQ continues to slide in Quebec election

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Liberal majority seen

TORONTO MARCH 31st, 2014 – In a random sampling of public opinion taken by The Forum Poll™ among 854 Quebec voters one week before the provincial election, 4-in-10 will vote Liberal (41%), compared to fewer than 3-in-10 who will vote Parti Quebecois (29%). One fifth will vote CAQ (19%), less than a tenth will vote QS (7%) and few will vote Green (2%), ON (1%) or for any other party (1%). These findings represent a continuation of the decline we have seen for the PQ (March 5 - 38%, March 19 - 32%, March 31 - 29%), while the Liberals have plateaued (March 5 - 40%, March 19 - 45%, March 31 - 41%). The CAQ has seen its share increase since we polled last (March 5 - 12%, March 19 - 13%, March 31 - 19%).

Close to 4-in-10 Francophones will vote Liberal (39%), while 3-in-10 will vote PQ (30%) and one fifth will vote CAQ (20%). Among non-Francophones, three quarters will vote Liberal (78%), compared to fewer than one tenth who will vote PQ (7%) or CAQ (4%). The Liberals capture close to half the vote in "la Couronne" around Montreal (48%).

The Liberal vote is the "stickiest" in that almost all past Liberal voters will vote Liberal again (90%), while about three quarters of past PQ voters will vote their party again (75%) and just more than half of CAQistes will vote CAQ again (56%). Of note, 3-in-10 past CAQistes will vote Liberal this time (30%), and about half this proportion will vote PQ (14%). One tenth of past Péquistes will vote CAQ this time around (11%).

Slim Liberal majority seen                                                                           

If these results are projected up to seats in a 125 seat National Assembly, the Liberals would capture a 2 seat majority of 65 seats, down from 78 the last time we polled, while the PQ would take 51 seats, up from 43 on March 19. The CAQ would take 7 seats, well up from 2, while the QS would take just 2 seats.

Legault's approvals up sharply after debate

Francois Legault has the approval of more than half of Quebec voters (54%), well up from the last time we polled (48%), and his net favourable score (approve minus disapprove) is a shiny +27, well up from +16 last time. Philippe Couillard enjoys the approval of close to half (45%, similar to 44% on March 19), and his net is 3%, down slightly from +7. Mme Marois enjoys the approval of one third (31%, steady from 32%) and her net score is a dismal -32, down from -28 on March 19.

Very few want referendum

Fewer than one quarter of Quebec voters want a referendum on independence (23%), and more than 7-in-10 do not want one (71%). Just a quarter of Francophones want to gamble on the future (26%), while two thirds do not (69%). Among non-Francophones, just a tenth are in favour (12%), and more than 8-in-10 are against the idea (82%). No Liberal voters to speak of want a referendum (1%), and just 6-in10 PQ supporters do (59%).

CAQ and QS are strong second choices

In total, about one quarter or more say CAQ is their second choice (28%), while about half this proportion would opt for QS (16%). Among Liberal supporters, CAQ is the only party that merits mention as a second choice (43%), and among Péquistes, CAQ (31%) and QS (29%) are equally likely to be seen as good alternatives. Among CAQistes, where the swing vote lies, the second choice is twice as likely to be the Liberals (38%) as it is the PQ (19%). Francophones are most likely to say their second choice is the CAQ (31%), followed by QS (17%) and the Liberals (10%). Non-Francophones are most likely to say their second choice is CAQ (16%) or the Greens (17%).

PQ has highest negatives, followed by Liberals

In total, more than 4-in-10 would never vote PQ (44%), followed by one third who won't support the Liberals (31%). Few say they would not support any other party. Almost all Liberal supporters say they will never vote PQ (81%), while somewhat fewer Péquistes would never vote Liberal (73%). CAQistes are more likely to say they will not vote PQ (36%) than they are to say this of the Liberals (26%), but many will never vote QS (19%). Francophones are equally likely to say they will never vote Liberal (35%) or PQ (38%), while non-Francophones are more likely to say they will never vote PQ (71%) than Liberal (15%) or any other party.

The prospect of a referendum is an anchor around the PQ's neck, and it's going to drown them. No one wants one, not Francophones, not the regions, not the young. Even among their own supporters, enthusiasm doesn't reach two thirds. It looks like "le beau projet" will have to be shelved again," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at lbozinoff@forumresearch.com or at (416) 960-9603.