So, it's been awhile, a couple of weeks actually, since I've paid attention to the race in Quebec or this blog in particular, mostly due to work and preparations for an upcoming college term. However, my co-blogger Teddy has done a couple of good filler posts for which I'm grateful, and I am glad to see his own blog, Riding-by-Riding, back up and running again. Bookmark it if you want to keep up on some an insightful guy.
But back to the topic - the election in Quebec, and oh my how I've missed delving into this quagmire. My projections are fully up-to-date and you can see them now, but I'll go over a quick summary below.
If there is one thing you can say right now, it is that the Parti Québécois has an advantage in this race, coming out consistently ahead in most polls, except for the most recent Forum poll though Éric on the Globe and Mail goes over that himself. In my projection, the Forum poll definitely helps boost the Liberals back up though not nearly enough to catch up to Pauline Marois in a straight projection. When factoring in too-close-to-call races, though, there is a brawl to be had.
Think of it this way: I count roughly 35 "TCTC" ridings, or 28% of all ridings in Quebec. Most of them are outside of Montréal, in the regions of Estrie and Centré-du-Québec, where the Liberals won lots of ridings in 2008, but are now struggling to stay out of third place. But the péquistes don't even have the true advantage yet, because in a lot of these ridings, the CAQ is now coming up and trying to make its impact. As Teddy put in the post before this, the péquistes are starting to feel pressure as the CAQ gobbles up more and more of the francophone vote.
Compare this to 2011's Ontario provincial election, where only 11 ridings I considered truly TCTC, though there were up to 15 you could consider when all the votes were counted. That is less than half of the number of ridings in Québec that have dogfights going on, and not nearly as many of Ontario's TCTC ridings were three-way races. The same goes for Alberta.
However, there are a few things that the parties in Québec can count on right now. One is Pauline Marois' ability to stick her foot in her mouth. Second is that, while we still have a couple of weeks to go, the two traditional parties are keeping a decent enough foothold in the two top spots, while the CAQ has some momentum (in fact, coming off his debate last night with Marois, Legault's party could see more momentum in the coming days).
The minor parties - speaking here of Québec solidaire, Parti vert, and Option nationale - are a mixed bag. The QS is definitely down from bigger heights before when they consistently hit 10% or more of the vote, sitting roughly at 6% as the campaign goes on. The PVQ is suffering tremendously, while Option nationale is doing well for a party created last year, though I still doubt they're play much more than a spoiler role for the péquistes.
Speaking of ON, there was a recent riding-specific poll done for Jean-Martin Aussant's riding of Nicolet-Bécancour, as covered here by 308.com. It shows Aussant doing well, but you'll notice in my projections, he sits at around 12% of the vote (his party is in the "others" column). This is because, frankly, I don't give him much of a chance, and I don't want to put too much stock into a riding-specific poll. Instead, I have him taking away enough votes from the péquistes to allow the CAQ to win the riding handily, which in fairness, the Cible Research poll does confirm. I may consider tweaking Nicolet-Bécancour's projection in the coming days, depending on other polls I see coming out, but you can't fault my reasoning - a one-term, little-known MNA running his own party that rarely gets press isn't exactly on solid ground. Then again, the fact that ON has fielded candidates in almost every riding in the province is a pretty good accomplishment. They probably won't be another Alberta Party.
Later today, I'll also be updating the political situation federally and provincially in Ontario., given that there is a new poll out in my province, so stay tuned.