There has been near unanimity in the closing polls on a close race overall. However, there are two Quebecs: in anglophone Quebec the Liberals continue to hold a large overall lead, while the PQ is about six or seven points ahead of the CAQ among francophones. The latter is the critical number. A six point lead is enough to give the PQ a comfortable victory although perhaps not a majority in the province as a whole. Earlier upward progress for the CAQ among francophones has stalled. Is this accurate? That's the question.
My seat estimate gives the PQ just above a majority with the Liberals in second and the CAQ third. If the vote is at all close overall the Liberals could easily finish third in the popular vote while finishing second in seats.
Only CROP has polled on the sovereignty question. They appear to be using a "hard" question about sovereignty rather than a variation on the sovereignty-association questions used in 1980 and 1995. Nevertheless, with the undecided redistributed proportionately, the NO side leads 69-31 and this has increased since the beginning of the campaign. With the PQ on the verge of winning the increase in anti-sovereignty sentiment may be a consequence.
The campaign of prospective Premier Marois has made a great deal of nationalist noise since the beginning of the campaign. However, pressure from party ranks appears to have made this necessary. I expect that post-campaign the new PQ administration will initially sound a lot like the mythological Rene Levesque of this Aislin cartoon:
Indeed we have already heard via the Globe and Mail that the bond market will take it all in stride:
Investors may be “underpricing the risk” of a pro-sovereignty government in Quebec, but a Parti Québécois victory in Tuesday’s election promises only a muted initial response after a campaign of soothing words where the markets are concerned.Nonetheless, the greatest constant of Quebec history is nationalism and, while it is quiescent at the moment, one cannot always count on it remaining so.