A recent article in the Globe and Mail projects a slim majority government for the Parti Quebecois in the upcoming provincial election on September 4.
The latest polls are as follows. CROP poll of August 29: Liberals 26%; Parti Quebecois 32%; CAQ 28%, Quebec Solidaire 9%. FORUM poll August 28: Liberals 28%; PQ 33%; CAQ 27%; Quebec Solidaire 8%. The Liberals do not seem to be making up any ground on the PQ. The CAQ(Coalition Avenir Quebec) may split the vote in several constituencies now held by Liberals and allow the PQ to win.The Globe and Mail predictions for seats are as follows. The PQ would win 66 seats based on 34.% of the vote. This percentage is a bit higher than in the polls I referenced. Sixty three seats are needed for a majority. The Liberals would win 32 seats with 28.5% of the vote and the CAQ would win 25 seats with 25.8%. Finally Quebec Solidaire would win two seats with 6.7% of the vote. Other parties including the Greens and Option Nationale would not win any seats.Since the four debates the Liberals have lost more than 4 per cent in the polls and 15 seats. The PQ has been relatively stable but the CAQ is up over 3% in the polls. However Liberals remain ahead in the island of Montreal and this will probably enable them to be the official opposition. The CAQ however now leads in Quebec City with almost 36 per cent of the vote at the same time as the Liberals have dropped 5 points to 28 per cent since August 14. The PQ is doing well outside the two main urban centers of Montreal and Quebec City.Among the non-francophone population the Liberals are still dominant at 63.7% but even this represents a drop of about 11 points. Although the CAQ has only 16.6% of those voters that is still a gain of 7% within two weeks. More of those voters may move to the CAQ as the only alternative to the PQ and this could spell disaster for the Liberals.The PQ is already planning strategy and formulating demands it will make on the Harper government. Six years ago Harper's Conservative government passed a motion in the House of Commons recognizing the Quebecois as a nation within Canada. The motion helped the rise of the right wing Action Democratique du Quebec and helped defeat the Parti Quebecois. Now that move will come back to haunt the Conservatives.The PQ leader Pauline Marois will challenge Harper to hand over control in different areas based upon the principle that Quebec is a nation. If Harper baulks and offer her little or nothing Marois will use this as an argument to try to convince Quebeckers that Quebec independence is the only way forward. Of course first she must win the election and that is far from a sure thing. Even if she does win she may face a minority situation rather than being in the majority.