Liberal leader Jean Charest inspires the most confidence among Quebecers and is seen as the best person to defend Quebec's interests in Ottawa, an SES Research poll shows. Results show 41 per cent of Quebecers feel Charest would best ensure Quebec receives its fair share from the federal government, compared with 28 per cent for Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair and 13 per cent for Action democratique leader Mario Dumont.
Charest enjoys quite a gap, on a crucial question, which might translate into some last minute sway towards the Liberals. The sovereignists always lay claim to defending Quebec's interests, and Dumont has even poked fun at Charest's popularity outside Quebec. The fact that Dumont is well behind on this measure reaffirms the soft support argument.
You could speculate the budget will play into this apparent Charest strength. With the PQ on board, Charest faces little criticism on Harper delivering. Charest now has a powerful argument for federalism, and I hope he makes the point that the PQ's combative stance would have never delivered. A spirit of co-operation doesn't sell out Quebec's interests and Charest should take some comfort that Quebec's see this as strength.