Quebec Liberals take lead over PQ after weekend leaders’ debate: poll

Élection Québec 2012 - récit canadian

Jake Edmiston - The dynamics of the Quebec election appear to have shifted dramatically in the last few days as a new poll shows a surge in Liberal support following the televised leaders’ debate this past weekend.
A Forum Research poll, conducted exclusively for the National Post, reveals a sudden turnaround in voters’ intentions, which had, in previous surveys, given the edge to the Parti Québécois.
Of 1,602 telephone respondents surveyed, more than one-third of voters said they would vote for the Liberals, pushing Jean Charest’s party to 35%, more than four points higher than polls had suggested the Liberals enjoyed as recently as last week.
Much of the gain appeared to come from voters previously backing the PQ, which saw its popularity drop six points to 29% since Forum last polled the province. Support for the fledgling Coalition Avenir Québec showed little change, at 24%; previous polls had measured CAQ support at 24%.
“In an astounding turn of events, these voting intention results — if they hold on election day — would see the Liberals claim a 63% majority in the 125-seat house, up from just 42 seats last week,” reads the Forum report.
Forum, Leger Marketing and CROP polls earlier this month showed the PQ leading among decided voters with the Liberals a close second.
Forum president Lorne Bozinoff attributed the Liberal upsurge to Mr. Charest’s performance in Sunday’s televised debate.
The survey was conducted Monday and Mr. Bozinoff said the results do not reflect any changes to voters’ impressions following a subsequent debate Monday night, the second of four scheduled party leader showdowns. Another debate took place on Tuesday night.
Just over 1,000 of the 1,602 respondents said they watched Sunday’s debate, and 18% considered Jean Charest to have won. That was still far more than the 8% who judged PQ leader Pauline Marois the victor, and the 9% who thought CAQ leader Francois Legault had come out ahead.
“People said all along that Jean Charest is a good campaigner. It looks like he came ahead in this one,” Mr. Bozinoff said.
But Françoise David, leader of the sovereigntist Québec Solidaire seemed to have triumphed in the eyes of those who watched the debate, with 40% of people surveyed ranking her the winner.
National Post
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