11/24/2014 12:05 EST

Poll Suggests Quebecers See Trudeau As More Likely To Win In 2015 Than Mulcair


Quebec voters widely respect Thomas Mulcair but could turn to Justin Trudeau in the next federal election if Liberals stand the best shot at winning government, a new poll suggests.

The survey from Abacaus Data, released Monday, checked the political pulse in a key battleground province for 2015 by testing opinions of Mulcair and Trudeau. It found 80 per cent of Quebecers want a "more progressive government in Ottawa," which would appear to be good news for both New Democrats and Liberals.

However, a majority — 56 per cent — told Abacus they would vote for "whichever leader has the best chance of beating Stephen Harper." And 67 per cent of Quebecers said they believe Trudeau is more likely to win the next federal election than Mulcair.

Forty-eight per cent of all Quebecers and 44 per cent of Francophones agreed with the statement that "if I want a more progressive government it makes most sense to vote Liberal." In fact, 45 per cent of 2011 NDP voters in the province supported that view.

Still, the numbers show the NDP remains very popular in a province where it captured 59 of 75 seats and 43 per cent of the vote in 2011 under late leader Jack Layton.

Sixty per cent of all Quebec voters polled believe Mulcair would be a more competent prime minister than Trudeau — with 64 per cent of Francophones holding that view. Across the province, 55 per cent said the NDP leader has values closer to their own.

Mulcair scored slightly better than Trudeau on foreign policy (55 per cent) and economic issues (54 per cent), and boasted bigger leads over his Grit rival when it came to who is best on environmental issues (69 per cent), and who would do most to help the "less well off" (62 per cent).

In terms of personal attributes, Mulcair is seen as smarter (60 per cent), stronger (59 per cent), more compassionate (54 per cent), and more down to Earth (65 per cent).

But where the NDP leader is seen as capable and serious, Trudeau is seen as dynamic.

In addition to viewing Trudeau as more of a potential winner, 56 per cent of Quebecers said the Liberal leader would be better able to motivate people to follow his leadership and 52 per cent across the province said he conveyed the best image of the province. However, 58 per cent of Francophones said Mulcair conveyed the best image of Quebec.

Province-wide, Trudeau topped Mulcair on the question of who can best improve the future for young Quebecers (59 per cent) and advance the interests of women (53 per cent). He was also seen as more energetic and passionate (57 per cent), more willing to compromise (54 per cent), and more open-minded to different views (54 per cent).

The survey also examined how the political legacy of Pierre Trudeau might impact the success of his oldest son in Quebec. While 42 per cent of Quebecers said they resented the policies of Pierre Trudeau, only 24 per cent said they wouldn't vote for the current Liberal leader because of his dad.

Similarly, while 53 per cent of Quebecers have a positive impression of Pierre Trudeau, just 25 per cent of respondents said that made them more inclined to support his son.

In the poll summary, Abacus' Bruce Anderson and David Coletto wrote that despite the advantages of incumbency and a popular leader, the NDP will have a tough time repeating the historic results it achieved in 2011.

"The numbers suggest that for the NDP the biggest challenge lies in the fact that they do not appear poised to win in the rest of the country, while Justin Trudeau looks like he could fashion such a victory," the pair wrote. "For the many Quebec voters who crave a more progressive government in Ottawa, there is less uneasiness about Justin Trudeau than there is about another four years of Conservative government."

The survey was conducted online among 650 Quebec adults between Oct. 30 and Nov. 4. The margin for error for similar polls is 3.9 per cent.


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