POLITICS

Quebec Poll Suggests Trudeau's Liberals Keeping Lead While NDP, Tories On Move

08/23/2013 12:35 EDT
CP

Quebec continues to be a province in flux, as a new poll shows New Democrats and Conservatives on the move. But above it all, Justin Trudeau's Liberals remain well in front.

The CROP-La Presse poll surveying 1,000 Quebecers earlier this month found Liberals leading in the province with 41 per cent support, virtually unchanged from the Quebec-based polling firm's last survey from mid-June. New Democrats placed second with 27 per cent, a drop of five points to the lowest the NDP has registered in CROP's polling since the 2011 federal election.

The Bloc Québécois was at 17 per cent in the poll while the Conservatives were up six points to 14 per cent. That is a significant uptick for the Tories, but they were at 15 per cent, according to CROP, as recently as March. Perhaps more importantly for the Conservatives is that satisfaction with their government was up five points to 31 per cent, the best it has been since January.

But while the parties further down the table jostle around for position, the Liberals have been remarkably steady. Since Trudeau became leader, CROP has had the Liberals in a tight band of between 38 and 42 per cent of decided voters, while on the question of who would make the best prime minister, Trudeau has not budged from between 29 and 31 per cent.

The Liberals led among francophones with 33 per cent and non-francophones with 72 per cent in this poll, while they were also ahead in and around Montreal with 45 per cent and the regions of Quebec with 39 per cent. The only place they trailed was in Quebec City, where they had 26 per cent support.

And that is good news for the Conservatives. The party was up 14 points in and around the provincial capital to 38 per cent, their best result in the region since October, 2012. The prime minister's visit to the city, where he announced funding for an infrastructure project, seems to have paid off. The party also seems to be doing better among non-francophones, sitting at 20 per cent. That was enough to boost the party 12 points on the island of Montreal to 16 per cent.

It is here that the New Democrats have taken a hit. Though the party is still competitive in the suburbs around Montreal (31 per cent) and in the regions of Quebec (28 per cent), on the island they decreased 14 points to only 23 per cent, and were down 10 points among non-francophones to just eight per cent. That is a big change for the party. Support among non-French-speaking Quebecers delivered a number of seats to the New Democrats on the island of Montreal in the 2011 election -- they are all at risk if the NDP has really fallen to single-digits among these voters.

Thomas Mulcair was also not spared in the poll -- he dropped eight points on who would make the best prime minister to 23 per cent. He was at 37 per cent on this question in March before Trudeau won the Liberal leadership.

Lost in the equation is the Bloc Québécois, which has only 20 per cent support among francophones and was at 13 per cent in both the Montreal and Quebec City regions. They do not seem poised for a comeback just yet.

And that leaves the field open for the other parties. The Conservatives are trying to carve out a base around Quebec City again, while Liberals seem to have a lock on Montreal. That leaves the francophone vote outside of these two cities up for grabs -- and so far, it seems that Trudeau is winning it.

Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers every week. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections.

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