The CAQ keeps its head start in voting intentions

Marco Bélair-Cirino and Laurianne Croteau

March 1, 2023

  • Québec

The honeymoon between François Legault and the people of Quebec stretches and stretches, shows a Léger-Le Devoir poll. ” For now ! says Léger strategist Éric Normandeau, pointing to two key indicators: the Prime Minister's popularity and the Coalition Avenir Québec's (CAQ) voting intentions.

The CAQ would collect 40% of the votes if general elections were held these days (-1 percentage point compared to the vote of October 3), compared to 18% for the Parti Québécois (+3 points), 17% for Quebec solidaire (+2 points), 14% for the Liberal Party of Quebec (stable) and 9% for the Conservative Party of Quebec (-4 points), indicates the sounding carried out online between February 24 and 26 last.

The Parti Québécois (PQ), which was overtaken by Québec solidaire (QS) in the vote race last October 3, is consolidating its position in second place in terms of voting intentions — behind the CAQ, ahead of QS — that it had regained at the end of 2022. The often “positive” and never “surly” “style” of the PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, has something to do with it. “The success he had in the final stretch of the election campaign and during the battle he led [to end the] oath [compulsory of deputies] to the king before the holidays, it continues to him pay,” says Éric Normandeau.

François Legault “far ahead of everyone”

After a checkered autumn (+4 points between October and November, -3 points between November and December), QS has recovered (+3 points since December 10). A rise that is not unrelated to the return of spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois in the spotlight, mentions the strategist. “He comes out of the shadows and it pays off. »

Deprived of a member of the National Assembly, Éric Duhaime remains confined outside the walls of the Parliament Building and, in turn, “benefits from less media exposure” than the CAQ, PQ, Solidarity and Liberal leaders, which weighs down the Conservative Party of Quebec.

With 9% of voting intentions, the party recorded its lowest score since December 2021. At the time, it had seen its support double in one month (from 5% to 11%), courtesy of the popular discontent aroused by the imposition, starting on New Year's Eve, of a new curfew aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. The Conservatives are also losing momentum in the Quebec region (17%, compared to 25% last summer).

Dean of the National Assembly and recent follower of TikTok, François Legault is known to almost all Quebecers. Indeed, 96% of the population could recognize him, compared to 84% for Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, 78% for Éric Duhaime, 69% for Paul St-Pierre Plamondon… and 36% for Marc Tanguay, who was chosen to ensure the interim leadership of the Liberal Party (PLQ), until the designation of a titular leader.

Nearly half of Liberal supporters (48%) do not know Marc Tanguay — who has not ruled out running for the leadership of the PLQ — even though he is now leader of the official opposition in the National Assembly and carries party colors in the Montreal riding of LaFontaine for more than 10 years.

Three months after the resignation of Dominique Anglade, the Liberals obtain 14% of the voting intentions, garnering the support of barely 4% of Francophones and 46% of non-Francophones. Conversely, the CAQ receives the support of 46% of Francophones, but 20% of non-Francophones.

More than half of Quebecers (60%) have a good opinion of Mr. Legault, while 36% have a bad opinion of him. “He's still popular. He is always appreciated. And, it is far ahead of everyone”, notes Éric Normandeau.

An imperative of balance

The idea of ​​Quebec independence is not dead. Indeed, the “Yes” to a Quebec country enjoys the support of 38% of Quebecers, an increase of 6 percentage points since the last Léger-Le Devoir poll.on the subject, carried out in 2018. “It's not nothing for an issue that does not take center stage,” says Éric Normandeau in an exchange with Le Devoir. The CAQ and QS also have an almost identical proportion of separatists among their supporters, respectively 42% and 43%.

Neither separatist nor federalist, but “nationalist”, François Legault “will continue to balancing act as he does” since the presentation of his New project for Quebec nationalists, in the fall of 2015, “maintaining a more nationalist discourse without being independentist”, predicts Éric Normandeau .

The survey was conducted online between February 24 and 26, 2023 among 1,044 Quebecers aged 18 or over who have the right to vote in Quebec. You can't assign an official margin of error to web-panel polls, but a probability sample of this size would have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3%, 19 out of 20 times.