01/23/2013 10:06 EST | Updated 03/26/2013 05:12 EDT

The Nanos Number: Could Quebec's Soft NDP Vote Go Liberal? (VIDEO)

Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC News Network's Power & Politics host Evan Solomon to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives.

This week: Nearly half of NDP supporters in Quebec say they would consider voting for the Liberal party in the next federal election.

The number: 46

The percentage of committed NDP supporters in Quebec who would consider voting for the Liberals.

If the Liberals tap into NDP support in Quebec and make the province their regional base, the party could make a major comeback, according to Nik Nanos of Nanos Research. The Liberals currently lack concentrated regional support, Nanos added.

"In order to be a contender on the national scene, you need a regional base," Nanos said.

New Nanos online representative surveys reveal that the number of NDP and Liberal supporters in Quebec is at a dead heat.

Who would Quebec voters consider voting for?

- NDP 56.7%

- Liberal 55.7%

- Conservative 37.0%

- Green 26.8%

- BQ 17.2%

Nanos also found almost one in two NDP voters in Quebec would consider casting their ballot for a Liberal.

Who would NDP supporters in Quebec consider voting for?

- Liberal 46%

- Green 36%

- Conservative 20%

- BQ16%

Nanos Research surveyed 1,000 Canadians, with a subsample of 250 Quebecers, on Jan 18 and 19, 2013. There is no margin of error for the online survey.

Liberal leadership candidates gathered in Vancouver on Sunday for the first of five leadership debates.

Candidates discussed policy ideas ranging from the environment to First Nations to electoral reform. But Nanos thinks choosing a charismatic leader as important as policy details.

"If they (Liberals) want to try to bolster their support in the province of Quebec and try to challenge the New Democrats, they're not only going to need policy, but they're also going to need personality."

Nanos points to Justin Trudeau, Martin Cauchon, Marc Garneau and Martha Hall Findlay as leadership hopefuls who may be able to "connect and motivate and inspire" voters in Quebec and across Canada.

The second Liberal leadership debate takes place in Winnipeg on Saturday, Feb. 2. A new leader will be chosen on April 14 in Ottawa.

"Expect a lot more French in the debates, even if they're not in Quebec. And expect a lot of focus of the Liberal campaign on the province of Quebec and also the NDP and Thomas Mulcair," Nanos said.

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