the numbers guy

Parti Québecois on track for majority – but election far from over

Posted on: August 19, 2012

Québec voters will go to the polls on 4 September to elect their new provincial government. The opinion polls had been quite volatile during the months leading up to the election, but have settled down somewhat since the start of the campaign – although they have pointed to a recent rise in support for the Coalition Avenir Québec. Recent polls also agree that the Parti Québecois, led by Pauline Marois, enjoys an edge of roughly five points over the second place Parti Libéral (led by Premier Jean Charest) and the third place CAQ.

Also contesting the election are the left-wing Québec Solidaire which polled 3.8% in 2008, and succeeded in winning its first ever seat in the Assemblée Nationale du Québec. They are a factor in a number of ridings on the island of Montreal, and will be hoping to add a second seat this time round. Also in the picture is the small, sovereigntist Option Nationale led by Jean-Martin Aussant who will be hoping to do well in Nicolet-Bécancour.

There have also been a number of boundary changes since 2008, which added additional seats to the regions surrounding the Island of Montreal – Laurentides-Lanaudière, Laval and Montérégie. The Chaudière-Appalaches, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions lost seats to compensate.

According to my mid-campaign projection, here’s how the recent polling evidence would translate into seats:

  • Across the province, the PQ win a majority with 69 seats, the PLQ win 34 seats, the CAQ 20 seats, and Québec Solidaire win 2 seats.
  • In Montréal, the PLQ are projected to win 20 seats, followed by the PQ with 18 seats, Québec Solidaire with 2 seats and the CAQ with 1 seat.
  • In Québec City, the CAQ are projected to win 7 seats, with the PLQ and PQ winning 2 seats each.
  • In the Rest of Québec, the PQ are projected to win 49 seats, with the PLQ and CAQ winning 12 seats each.

The PQ clearly have their nose on front and, as things stand, are on track for an overall majority. However, with over a fortnight’s campaigning to come, there are far too  many close races that this election remains impossible to call.

The PQ will be looking to maintain their roughly 5-point edge over the PLQ and CAQ – if that lead narrows, the seat projection would change dramatically – and prospects for a PQ majority would shrink accordingly. This election is far from over yet.


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