Saturday, February 24, 2007

Quebec Election - PQ Starts Ahead

This election looks like a classic set-up for the third party: there is a relatively unpopular Premier and administration (only 42% say they are satisfied with the Charest government) and an even more unpopular leader of the Parti québecois – André Boisclair. The third party, the ADQ, is led by Mario Dumont, who according to this CROP poll is the preferred leader when respondents are asked who they would want to babysit their children or with whom they would want to spend an evening. (Charest leads when the question is who would make the best Premier.)

But I don’t think the ADQ can win. The PQ remains well ahead among francophones and the PLQ dominates the anglo-allo vote (see detailed chart here). The ADQ has only 3% among Anglophone voters who don’t trust Dumont for his support of the YES side in the 1995 referendum, and is five points behind the Liberals among francophone voters. However, the party has made itself as a force to be reckoned with by appealing to more rural, conservative voters, essentially the old Union Nationale base. This may have helped entrench the ADQ but it also prevents it from succeeding overall in a province that is well to the left of it ideologically, among both anglophones and francophones.

So the story is more complicated, but there are reasons for Quebec voters to find the ADQ as less than satisfactory.

What we are likely to see therefore is an indecisive result, most likely a minority government, which Quebec has not had in the modern era of politics.

If one applies this week’s CROP to my model, I get the following outcome:

Party Seats
PLQ 52
PQ 60
ADQ 12
QS 1
Others 0

So this campaign starts off with André Boisclair leading in terms of seats but with less than a majority. The lack of confidence in the alternatives also makes it more likely that the campaign could matter a great deal.

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