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Liberals headed to majority in Quebec: poll

With only three days to go before the Quebec election and after 10 days without any provincewide public opinion polls – prompting some Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ) politicians to suggest the news media were trying to hide their party’s late surge – new numbers are finally out.

According to a CROP-La Presse survey published today, not much has changed since the Nov. 25 leaders debate and Ottawa’s political meltdown. As a result, Jean Charest’s Liberals look set to win a third successive mandate, regaining the majority they lost in March 2007.

The new poll gives the Liberals 45 per cent, the Parti Québecois (PQ) 29 per cent and the ADQ 15 per cent. The Greens and the left-leaning sovereignist Québec Solidaire weigh in at six and five per cent respectively. The 16-point lead represents the Liberals’ biggest since before the last election.

In the absence of any new survey results during a week that saw the election campaign take a backseat to federal politics, it had been unclear whether the chaos in Ottawa would help Charest who argued the looming economic crisis required the stability of a majority government or whether the federal Conservatives’ attacks against “the separatists” would fuel sovereignist sentiment likely to benefit the PQ.

The first attempt to measure the past week’s fallout shows the Liberals holding steady from the previous poll while the drop in PQ support and corresponding increase in the ADQ’s are within the margin of error for the survey conducted between Nov. 28 and Dec. 3.

The official opposition ADQ are well below the 20 per cent share of the popular vote needed for official party status in Quebec’s National Assembly.

In terms of how the distribution of seats could break down, Prédictions HKDP’s website offers up the following scenario based on today’s poll: 82 for the Liberals (up from 48 in 2007), 41 for the PQ (up from 36) and two for the ADQ (down from 41).

According to Prédictions HKDP, its model was correct for 122 out 125 ridings in 2007 and 302 out 308 in October’s federal election.

PQ Leader Pauline Marois said the survey does not reflect her own party’s polls which show building sovereignist momentum. The ADQ’s Mario Dumont painted himself as the tortoise to Charest’s hare and reiterated his claim that a Liberal majority would hurt the middle class.

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