Sunday, January 18, 2004

New Poll in Quebec

Interesting new poll out in Quebec with paradoxical results.

Here is the report from the Gazette:

Liberal support slips: poll
"KEVIN DOUGHERTY The Gazette Friday, January 16, 2004

A SOM poll, done for Radio-Canada, indicates that seven out of 10 Quebecers are dissatisfied with the Charest government.

While the poll suggests support for Premier Jean Charest's Liberals is slipping, it is Mario Dumont's Action démocratique du Québec that is picking up that support, not the Parti Québécois.

The PQ opposes Charest's "conservative" government, charging Charest is undoing measures adopted by the PQ, such as $5 day care.

The ADQ has accused Charest of stealing its program by allowing more contracting out of work and promising tax cuts.

The PQ won 33.21 per cent of votes cast in last year's election. The SOM poll gives the PQ 35.6-per-cent support.

The increase in support for the PQ is 2.4 per cent, less than the 3.8-per-cent margin of error in the poll, 19 times out of 20. SOM called 1,000 people by telephone Jan. 7-12.

Charest's Liberals won the April 14 election with 45.92 per cent of the vote. The SOM poll places Liberal strength at 27.1 per cent.

The ADQ showing was 28.5 per cent, a jump from their 18.24-per-cent support in the election. Undecided voters were 7.3 per cent."

So we have protests in the streets and other indications of unhappiness with the tilt to the right of the Charest government, but it is manifested in party preferences by a switch to the ADQ, which has similar policies. The explanation I think is that the electorate is still cool on the PQ after eight and a half years in government and is left with only one other outlet to vent its frustrations, however inappropriate that might be.

The real test for Charest will come with the budget, assuming he delivers on tax cuts. Polling suggests this should be popular with Quebecers. Charest has taken government in a new direction and clearly expects that there will be support for his changes to the Quebec model once the other half of his plan in is place.

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