QUEBEC CITY – The governing Parti Québécois is ending the year on a high note.
According to the latest CROP poll, the number of Quebecers satisfied with the government has jumped nine percentage points in the last month, from 32 per cent to 41 per cent. The Premier’s own popularity has climbed to 26 per cent, and the number of Quebecers ready to vote for her party at the next election is up 3 percentage points to 35 per cent. The Liberals are also getting 35 per cent of voting intentions, while the CAQ stagnates at 18 per cent.
It’s the first time in nine months the PQ is on equal footing with the Liberals.
“The identity question was brought forward by the PQ to polarize the debate, it became a wedge issue, and that’s helped their cause,” analyzed Rhéal Séguin from The Globe and Mail. “It’s taken away a lot of support from the CAQ and built up the support for the PQ. I think they’re going to continue playing that political game using the charter to polarize Quebecers in the hopes they can get enough support from francophone voters to form a majority government.”
PQ House Leader Stéphane Bédard said his government has worked hard to win Quebecers’ trust. He said thanks to the PQ, companies are more accountable, unemployment is low and government spending is under control. But mostly, he said, Quebecers recognize themselves in the charter.
So much so, his colleagues argued it’s increasing support for sovereignty. Forty-four per cent of Quebecers now say they want to separate from Canada; that’s up three points.
“The distancing between Quebec and Canada is growing,” said International Affairs Minister Jean-François Lisée. “It’s as though on many levels Quebec is already independent in its mind, in its way of making decisions.”
They believe the debate on the charter has made Quebecers realize there is no “added-value” to being in Canada.
“We think that Quebec should be a country, so for us, it’s just that people are recognizing that it’s important,” said Economic Development Minister Elaine Zakaib.
Politicians rarely comment on polls when they’re bad. This one is considered an early Christmas present for the PQ. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to hold on to those numbers in the new year.