A Léger Marketing poll published Thursday showed the Tories are now nose-to-nose with the sovereignist Bloc Québécois in the province – each with about 31 per cent support – and the Liberals are a distant third at 20 per cent.
Some of the other polling shows different results, but the fact that two Quebec specific polls, with low MOE show the same result, is persuading. If these type of numbers were to hold, then the Conservatives would be looking at a possible pickup of anywhere between 15-30 seats.
I don't claim to have intimate knowledge of Quebecers opinion, but since every other commentator from the other solitude has a perspective, I might as well add mine. People are right to say that voter preference is volatile, and I would argue that while trends are positive for the Conservatives, the support is softer than Harper's abdomen ;) Quebecers may be flirting with the Conservatives, in the absence of another credibile alternative, but there remains a fundamental tension between the policies of the Tories and the Quebec mainstream.
If you believe issues matter, then there is reason to believe the Conservatives will suffer during a pointed campaign. The counter to that perspective is the idea that the Conservatives have appealed to the soft-nationalist, with their overtures to Quebec. However, and this sentiment seems to be taking hold in the media class, for all the pronouncements, the Conservatives have done little in terms of substance. The "nation" resolution has no practical application and the federal spending limitations formalize the status quo. Some mileage on the fiscal imbalance, including Quebec in UNESCO, but that will be weighted against the Senate stance, which will be wildly unpopular in Quebec. Chantal Hebert had a good quote, "Harper talks a good game in Quebec, but he has delivered nothing". I would translate that perspecitve to mean people are still suspicious of Harper's true motives, it is principle or is appeal?
The Conservatives should be happy, because there is the possibility of a real breakthrough in Quebec. However, I don't think the Conservatives are anywhere near to "closing the deal" with Quebecers, flirtation does not a marriage make.