A new poll suggests Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are making inroads in the part of Canada that vaulted New Democrats to Official Opposition status: Quebec.
The survey, conducted by CROP for La Presse from April 17 to 22, found Liberals to have the support of 38 per cent of Quebecers and 32 per cent of francophones in the province. According to Youri Rivest of the Quebec-based polling firm, the Liberals have not boasted such scores since Trudeau’s father was in office.
The New Democrats were pushed to second as a result, with 30 per cent support. That is the first time CROP has pegged the NDP as runner-up since the firm was quickest to catch the NDP’s surge in Quebec during the 2011 federal election.
The Bloc Québécois followed in the poll with 18 per cent, while Conservatives mustered only 10 per cent support in the province.
That is an enormous change from CROP’s last poll taken in mid-March, before Trudeau had taken over the leadership. Liberals doubled their support from 19 per cent, while the NDP dropped nine points, the Conservatives five, and the Bloc two.
That Liberals could be in a close race for first with New Democrats among francophones (the NDP stands at 33 per cent), a demographic that had increasingly turned away from federal Grits after the sponsorship scandal, points to the remarkable opportunity Trudeau has to renew ties with French-speaking Quebecers.
But the New Democrats have not collapsed. The party was within a few points of the Liberals in the suburbs around the island of Montreal, and is still competitive in every part of the province (though the Liberals were ahead in each region). And while the Liberals held an eight-point advantage over the NDP in voting intentions, Trudeau was chosen as the best option for prime minister by 29 per cent — only two points more than what Thomas Mulcair managed on the question. But that two-point disadvantage is a dramatic change from the 29-point edge Mulcair had over interim leader Bob Rae in March.
Nevertheless, Mulcair does score better than Trudeau among Quebecers on a few important issues: he is seen as better able to face and solve major problems and as the superior administrator. Mulcair appeals to the head, then, whereas Trudeau appeals to the heart. Trudeau beat the NDP leader on honesty, trustworthiness, representing real change, understanding people’s needs, and being a uniter.
A survey by Harris-Decima (though admittedly with a smaller sample size in Quebec) shows a closer contest on a lot of these issues than CROP does, but it does suggest that Mulcair is more trusted among Quebecers on the economy. But nationwide, Trudeau leads on the question of who would make the best prime minister, with 33 per cent to 31 per cent for Stephen Harper and only 19 per cent for Mulcair.
The road to a Liberal renewal runs primarily through Ontario, but rebuilding bridges the party burned in Quebec would ensure Trudeau an electoral coalition that would be difficult for Conservatives to beat — and would tear the NDP’s apart.
Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers on most Tuesdays and Fridays. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections.
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Come At Me, Bro
Justin Trudeau trains at Pan Am Boxing Club in Winnipeg on Friday Feb. 1, 2013.
Justin Trudeau & co. making faces.
Justin Trudeau splits his pants while pushing the "scrum machine" in support of Prostate Cancer Canada in Toronto Thursday, July 21, 2011.
Justin Trudeau gets his geek on at Montreal Comiccon in September 2012.
So Long 'Stache
Justin Trudeau has his moustache shaved off to raise money for the Judy LaMarsh Fund, that supports female candidates, at the Liberal Party convention in Ottawa on Saturday, January 14, 2012.
Coming For MacKay
Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay (left) is chased by Liberal MP Justin Trudeau in a motorized wheelchair during a wheelchair race relay on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 12, 2010. Twenty-five MPs and senators used a wheelchair for the day in support of the Canadian Paraplegic Association's Spinal Cord Injury and CPA awareness month.
All For One, One For All
Justin Trudeau all dressed up for the Montreal Movember Gala in 2010.
Pierre Trudeau's sons, Sacha, left, and Justin, tackle their mother's paperboy in Ottawa in this undated photo.
'Family... And A Cow.'
He Can Certainly Take A Punch
Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau delivers a right hook to his older brother Justin during a play fight in 1980 at Ottawa airport as the boys await a flight with the return of their father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau.
Be Honest With Me, Who's Cuter?
Justin Trudeau strikes a pose with an adorable baby.
A Very Furry Christmas
Justin Trudeau poses with his family on his 2010 Christmas card.
Former Liberal MP Ken Dryden, left, and Justin Trudeau play table hockey as they visit Sun Youth, a community organization, Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 in Montreal.
Yanking Their Chain
Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, left, watches as his 11-year-old son Justin swings on a chain during a tour of an old fort in the Omani town of Nizwa Dec. 2, 1983. Trudeau and Justin spent the day visiting the towns of Jebel and Nizwa 165 kilometres south of Muscat.
Justin Trudeau in Muskoka, Ont.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, centre, has his cowbay taken by his son Xavier, 4 years-old, while his wife Sophie Gregoire, second from left, holds daughet Ella-Grace, 3 years-old, while they attend the party's annual Stampede breakfast in Calgary, Saturday, July 7, 2012. This is the 100th anniversary of the Stampede.
Like Mother, Like Son
Eleven-month-old Justin Trudeau, urged on by his mother Margaret Trudeau, crawls up the steps of an aircraft in Ottawa on Dec. 5, 1972 to meet his father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau on his return from Britain.
Cutting A Rug
Justin Trudeau dances with wife Sophie Grégoire before his speech at the Liberal showcase on April 6, 2013.
Next: What Is Pierre Trudeau Doing?
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, wearing what someone called his "Mandrake the Magician outfit," walks down the grandstand steps to present the Grey Cup trophy to the victorious Montreal Alouettes in this Nov. 28, 1970 photo.
Hey, It Was The '70s
Pierre Trudeau leans over to kiss an unidentified young lady to the seeming surprise of his recent bride Margaret. Trudeau and Margaret spent Saturday March 27, 1971 at maple tree farm here near Montreal at a sugaring out party.
Fur Wasn't Always Controversial
Pierre Trudeau accompanies Margaret Sinclair, at the annual Governor General's skating party for members of Parliament in Ottawa Jan. 14, 1970.
Ditto For Seal Hunting
Pierre Trudeau looks through the scope of his rifle while on a seal hunting trip in Baffin Island's Clear Water Fjord, July 29, 1968.
A Leg Up
Pierre Trudeau shoes off his frisbee catching style while waiting to board his plane in Vancouver May 16, 1979.
Calisthenics Were Still Cool
Pierre Trudeau had no trouble keeping himself occupied during a break from a boat trip down the Northwest Territories, Nahanni River, Monday Aug. 4, 1970.
Pierre Trudeau takes a wary look at an ice crevice, decides to chance it and makes the leap successfully during a midnight seal- hunting expedition at Clearwater Fjord in Canada's Arctic, July 29, 1968.
When in France...
Pierre Trudeau receives a kiss from his wife Margaret during a tour of St. Pierre, France, Aug. 1971.
Pierre Trudeau in Guayana 1974.
Friendlier With Reporters Than You Know Who
Pierre Trudeau sticks his tongue out to Canadian Press Photographer Peter Bregg during the 1972 election campaign. This photo was taken aboard the campaign plane where such antics were considered off the record. The photo was not made available until after the death of the prime minister
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau dances in Montreal Oct. 21, 1979.
Acting like a Beatle
Pierre Trudeau sprints away from a crowd of female admirers in Ottawa April 22, 1968. They surrounded him outside the Parliament Buildings on his third day in office.
Posing with a Beatle
John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, meet with Pierre Trudeau Dec. 24, 1969 in Ottawa.
'I See Cigars And Rum In Our Future'
Pierre Trudeau looks on as Cuban President Fidel Castro gestures during a visit to a Havana housing project in this Jan. 27, 1976 photo.
Acting Out A Tory Fantasy?
Pierre Trudeau pretending to strangle himself with a tie given to him as he was presented with honorary membership in the National Press Club in Ottawa Sept. 17, 1968.
Pierre Trudeau amuses a group of people in Fortune while on tour through Newfoundland, Aug. 3, 1971.
Oh Captain! My Captain!
Pierre Trudeau takes a ride on the Bluenose, Aug. 1972.
Nice Form Pierre
Pierre Trudeau works out at an Oshawa health club during a break in his 1968 election campaign.
Are The Flowers Too Much?
Pierre Trudeau, with a garland around his neck and a Hindu greeting symbol in paste on his forhead, rides a camel Jan 12, 1971 in the village of Benares, India, where he dedicated a water well.
I Do Love Flowers
Pierre Trudeau kids around with a carnation while waiting for voting results at the Liberal convention in this April 7, 1968 photo.
Indiana Jones Of The Great White North
Pierre Trudeau tries cracking a dog sled whip while visiting Baker Lake in the Arctic, March 10, 1970.
Never Afraid To Dance
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Sheik Yamani, left, and Pierre Trudeau, right, dance a traditional Arabian dance while camping out in the desert in Madein Saleh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 18, 1980.
Or Rock A Skirt
Pierre Trudeau, seen here taking part in Maori ceremonial dance in Wellington, New Zealand May 13, 1970.
Got The Moves
Pierre Trudeau does a dance after his campaign bus broke down in Montreal June 6, 1968.
Feather In The Cap
Wearing a "feather in his cap," Pierre Trudeau attended the official opening May 20, 1983, of an archaeological excavation in Hull, Que.
Ballet: Act 1
Pierre Trudeau, shown performing his famous pirouette during a May 7, 1977, picture session at Buckingham Palace in London, England.
Ballet: Act 2
Pierre Trudeau, in a moment of joy over patriation of Canada's constitution, preformed his now famous pirouette at Uplands Airport on April 18, 1982 following the Queens's departure for London after the 4-day state visit which climaxed with the proclamation of the Constitution Act.
He Got It From His Father
Pierre Trudeau is saluted by RCMP Officer as he carries son Justin to Rideau Hall in 1973.
Next: Justin Trudeau Through The Years
Prime Minister Trudeau and his then-wife Margaret leave the city's Notre Dame Basilica Sunday afternoon after the christening of their 22-day old infant Justin Pierre James, Jan. 16, 1972. Tasseled shawls kept the baby hidden from photographers and the 10-degree-below-zero weather.
March 1979 photo of the Trudeau children: Michel (front), Alexandre (Sacha) and Justin (rear).
It was a big day for Dad, but a long day for the three Trudeau children. Left to right, Justin, Michel and Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau attended the swearing in ceremonies of their father Pierre Elliott Trudeau as Prime Minister March 3, 1980 at Government House.