Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Quebec Poll

Maybe this explains the big hurry:
Canada's Conservative Party has pulled even in popularity with the Bloc Quebecois in the province of Quebec, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

The CROP survey for the daily newspaper La Presse put the Conservatives at 31 percent, up 4 percentage points from a mid-September poll, in the mainly French-speaking province of 7.5 million.

That put the Conservatives level with the Bloc Quebecois, a separatist party in Canada's parliament that fields candidates only in Quebec. The Bloc did not gain or lose points from September.

The federal Liberals were at 17 percent, down 2 percentage points.

The survey showed the Conservatives with 32 percent support among Francophone voters in Quebec, compared with 38 percent for the Bloc

A Decima poll yesterday showed a slight Tory fade in Quebec, but this is a much bigger sample, with a lower MOE, so it can't be discounted. First time I can remember a poll showing the Conservatives tied in Quebec, these types of numbers really open up the possibility of a majority.

19 comments:

burlivespipe said...

While it shouldn't be the reason why, it should highlight another reason why Dion and prominent Liberals should be standing up to the reasonable accomodation debate and defending Canadian multiculturalism and how it benefits society, not threatens it.
Harper does not want to touch this because the impression is that it would hurt his potential growth. Remember how he had his cabinet ministers running down stairs and avoiding the press on the soccer team debate? But it is abhorrent to lay low and let many border-line racists and isolationists demand immigrants conform to the most narrowest of definitions or else. Quebec's francophones are very open by and large to new immigrants, but this vocal group is painting a fairly unfriendly picture.
Dion needs to get in front of this, despite what his Quebec voices are telling him.
To leave Charest alone on this really demonstrates how fearful most politicians are of this issue.

burlivespipe said...

This would also be a perfect contrast of REAL leadership - one side divides Canadians for their own gain -- hey, there's a head scarf!
The other side believes Canada is a better, richer society because we're inclusive and open to welcoming our immigrants without forcing them to assimilate.

Steve V said...

burl

You might be on to something here. Right now all the parties are avoiding the issue like the plague, if the Liberals take a stance it might force Harper to respond.

Mushroom said...

I agree with burlivespipe totally on this issue. But this may mean a 180 turn for Dion and his wooing of Quebec nationalists.

The shock in this poll is that the CPC is not gaining from the Bloc, but from the further erosion of support for the Grits.

Before the Grits can be counted to run no worse than second in rural Quebec. Now we are in danger of abandoning the barn, instead of waiting in the attic.

Stephane Dion is the native son. But his call for a decentralized federalism does not resonate in North Shore Quebec, except among academics in Trois-Rivieres. He may have to try duck hunting as fishing season does not begin until spring.

Mushroom said...

I am not suggesting Harper is not touching the issue with regards to reasonable accomdation. He will if he finds a wedge to separate himself from Dion. So far, Dion has not been able to let him.

The omnibus crime bill may provide opportunities for Dion and Layton to do so. But both leaders are more interested in parsing what they like and take credit for being tough on crime. No line to be drawn in the sand there :(

What I dislike is that both these parties are not using insurgency tactics to attack Harper particularly in Quebec. A friend who went to the NDP meeting in Montreal told me that the Quebec delegation is quite lily white. The Maghrebis are natural supporters for Dion, but we have been taking their support for granted. Now they are nowhere to be found, when the Grits are crying for votes in Quebec.

ottlib said...

The Conservatives may be sitting at 31% in Quebec, a questionable assertion until we see the polling methodology, but they are also sitting just a couple of points above that nationally.

So no majority is in the offing because whatever seats he picks up in Quebec he loses outside of Quebec.

Mr. Harper has probably written off most of his seats in the Maritimes and he has put all of the seats in Saskatchewan in play.

That is 20 seats at play right there, which means he has an effective seat count of 105-115 going into an election. So he would have to find between 40-50 seats elsewhere.

The West is maxed out. He has probably received as many seats as he is going to get from there.

He is maxed out in Ontario as well until he can find a way to break into the cities. In fact he is vulnerable in about a half-dozen seats that he already holds so that is another challenge.

I have already mentioned the Maritimes and his troubles there.

So that does leave Quebec and 31% support is not enough to gain the necessary seats, particularly when he is pursuing the same voters as the Bloc. With that level of support he will pick up some seats but not enough to win his much sought after majority.

That is of course, if he continues to rise in Quebec, which would be a dubious prospect during an election campaign once the Liberals and the Bloc begin to hammer the Conservatives on Afghanistan and the environment. As well, of all of the provinces Quebec is the one province where tax cuts do not resonate as well as in other parts of the country.

If Mr. Harper is basing his political calculation on his prospects in just one province he is certainly not living up to his reputation of being a good political strategist (We all know it is BS but...) That is doubly so considering how fickle and unpredictable Quebec voters are.

Smart politicians secure seats in other parts of the country and hope to gain enough in Quebec to put them "over the top". Mr. Harper has not done that. If fact, I would argue, he has managed to do the exact opposite.

Steve V said...

"The shock in this poll is that the CPC is not gaining from the Bloc, but from the further erosion of support for the Grits."

This poll also had the Liberals and PQ tied at 32%, so the Bloc vote should probably be considered the core at this point.

Steve V said...

ottlib

I didn't see this part of the poll published, but they discussed it on Duffy's show today. The Liberals are essentially tied with the Cons and Bloc on the Island of Montreal, which is amazing when you think about it. It might be another sign that what burl proposes is exactly what is required.

If these numbers were to hold, then the Cons are looking at a 20-25 seat pickup in Quebec. As you point out, the Maritimes are a right off, but I don't think Saskatchewan will shun the Tories in droves. A Manitoba poll recently suggested the Cons could pickup a couple seats, which leaves Ontario and BC. Still short of a majority, but able to flirt with the Quebec numbers.

Also, apparently the entire Quebec Liberal caucus argued for an election in caucus today, saying the situation would only get worse with the current abstaining and dodging. Food for thought.

Mushroom said...

"Smart politicians secure seats in other parts of the country and hope to gain enough in Quebec to put them "over the top"."

Mulroney did that to win his majority in 1988. He lost 40 seats elsewhere but gained in Quebec.

This translates into a 30 seat gain for Dion in the rest of Canada.

Harper's strategy to victory is risky. He is hoping for Layton to take out Dion in the West and Ontario and for him to pick up pockets of seats until he reach 155.

Note that Dion is placing his star candidates against NDP incumbents. This is based on the assumption that if he lands a knock out blow against Layton, he is home free. Risky strategy but brings much higher rewards than Harper's plan.

Anonymous said...

A majority at 33% nationally, not possible. The fact that Chretien had a majority a 39% was a miracle and the standard would be well over 40% for the Conservatives to form a majority because their numbers are so skewed in Alberta. A few more seats in Quebec MAAAAYbe probably nmot when the Afghan deployment, gun control and Kyoto are discussed in a campaign does not a majority make. Internal squables will a) fade away in any campaign and b) even if they dont wont be headline news because the press will give air time to the above mentioned policy issues in any general writ.

ottlib said...

Actually in 1988 Brian Mulroney had seats to spare because in 1984 he won over 200.

So losing 40 seats still left him with a comfortable majority in a 280 seat House.

As well, he did not gain that many in Quebec. Indeed, he lost a few as a result of the Liberals picking up some seats outside of Montreal, which was their only bastion in Quebec between the 1984 and 1988 elections.

nacho libre said...

Steve, regardless of MOE, how can you have one poll the day before showing the Cons at 21% and the next day at 31%. Gimme a break. Fricking Duffy and that turncoat Lapierre were salivating over these new numbers, but there was no mention of the Decima poll yesterday. And of course Duffy is try to spin some rumour that Dion might leave before Dec over health reasons. There are some wicked biases within the media right now against Dion and a lot of it is unjustified. At least now everyone can take a breather, since there will not be anymore confidence votes until the new year.

nacho libre said...

Lapierre did mention that the Cons still do not have a strong enough organization to pull over any major gains outside of Montreal. I think the Quebec wing in Caucus should shut their fricking mouths since they are mostly to blame for this mess. We all know what their agenda really is. Hebert of course had another negative commentary about Dion today. Yawn.

Mushroom said...

Ottlib,

1988 was a disaster for the Grits in Quebec. Down from 17 to 12 as the Tories went up from 58 to 63. Major losses include Lucie Pepin in Outremont and Raymond Garneau in Ahuntsic, who was Turner's Quebec lieutenant.

"Lapierre did mention that the Cons still do not have a strong enough organization to pull over any major gains outside of Montreal."

??????Are you saying the other way around? Conservatives' presence in Montreal is Fortier in Vaudreuil and Bernard Lord working in Heenan Blaikie.

nacho libre said...

Mushroom, what i meant to say was that that the Cons do not have a strong enough ground game in Quebec and specifically outside Montreal to potentially make any major gains despite what the polls say, according to Lapierre.

Steve V said...

"Cons do not have a strong enough ground game in Quebec and specifically outside Montreal to potentially make any major gains despite what the polls say, according to Lapierre."

I'm not sure I buy that one. After all, seems that was the rationale, as to why the Liberals could never lose Outremont. Organization could make the difference in close ridings, but I'm not prepared to minimize the Cons chances based on that fact alone.

Dan McKenzie said...

The Conservatives have tied with the Bloc a number of times in polls since the 2006 election. Of course they've always proceeded to drop shortly after.

Mushroom said...

Organization means little to the Dippers in Outremont as Mulcair had his own support there. The CPCs had little in Quebec in 2006 and piggybacked on Mario Dumont's support to win 10 seats. Dumont won big in the Quebec election a year later.

The Liberals still have the biggest machine in Quebec. Yet, they have not been working effectively since the early 1970s when Bourassa and Trudeau feuded in Victoria.

ottlib said...

steve:

Bottom line, when a party is sitting at 33% nationally it is not in a position to win a majority government, regardless of what happens in Quebec.

As I stated before, successful parties build support in the ROC and then try to acquire enough in Quebec to put them in majority territory. At this, Mr. Harper has failed.

mushroom: At dissolution in 1988 the Mulroney Tories had about 210 seats in a 280 seat House. I do not have the exact numbers but they are close enough.

So, the loss of 40 seats was not an issue and it took Quebec out of the picture as the maker of Mulroney's second majority.