Even Liberals don’t like the Charest government - Macleans.ca

Even Liberals don’t like the Charest government

Has the provincial party bottomed out in Quebec?


Martin and I spent the morning poring over polling data to sort out whether the vultures circling above Jean Charest are onto something. Here’s what we compiled using data from Léger Marketing’s monthly polls:

Liberal support:

June 2010: 30%
May 2010: 31%
April 2010: 30%
March 2010: 32%
Feb. 2010: 37%
Jan. 2010: 39%

PQ support:

June 2010: 41%
May 2010: 40%
April 2010: 40%
March 2010: 38%
Feb. 2010: 40%
Jan. 2010: 41%

ADQ support:

June 2010: 13%
May 2010: 12%
April 2010: 9%
March 2010: 10%
Feb. 2010: 9%
Jan. 2010: 6%

Government approval rating:

June 2010: 20%
May 2010: 20%
April 2010: 21%
March 2010: 24%
Feb. 2010: 33%
Jan. 2010: 35%

Government disapproval rating:

June 2010: 76%
May 2010: 76%
April 2010: 77%
March 2010: 70%
Feb. 2010: 62%
Jan. 2010: 58%

Charest as best candidate to be premier:

June 2010: 18%
May 2010: 18%
April 2010: 17%
March 2010: 20%
Feb. 2010: 28%
Jan. 2010: 27%

Marois as best candidate to be premier:

June 2010: 25%
May 2010: 26%
April 2010: 27%
March 2010: 24%
Feb. 2010: 24%
Jan. 2010: 26%

Public opinion of Charest (rating in December 2009):

Positive opinion: 24% (40%)
Negative opinion: 68% (48%)

Public opinion of Marois (rating in December 2009):

Positive opinion: 42% (42%)
Negative opinion: 44% (44%)

Here’s what stuck out to me:

(1) The drop in Liberal support has seemingly gone to the ADQ. And yet, I suspect this is a bit of a red herring. The ADQ’s finances are nothing short of a complete mess, as are its membership numbers: donations tumbled to $441,946 in 2009 from $2,078,427 in 2008, and membership fell to 6,120 in 2009 from 12,275 in 2008 and 25,887 in 2007. Liberals might be parking their votes with the ADQ, but Quebec’s right-wing hardly seems on the cusp of a breakthrough as a result.

(2) Charest’s government is now significantly less popular than his party. This is unusual because it means even Liberal voters think the Liberal government is on the wrong track. Furthermore, it suggests virtually no one outside the party supports the government.

(3) While Charest’s personal popularity numbers have jumped off a cliff—the gap between the number of people who like Charest and those who don’t has grown to 44 points from eight points in December 2009—Marois’s ratings are unchanged over the same time period. People have really grown to dislike Charest regardless of the alternative.

(4) Amazingly enough, these aren’t even the worst numbers Charest and the Liberals have posted since coming to power: in April 2005, the Liberals were running at 21% and 78% of people disapproved of the government.

(5) Unless Charest somehow manages to drive his government’s reputation even further into the ground, the Liberals may be bottoming out at 30% in the polls, which really isn’t so bad considering the staggering number of scandals they’re fighting off. If that’s true, with Mario Dumont gone from the ADQ and Marois entrenched as PQ leader, this might be as polarized as the electorate gets in Quebec these days.


Even Liberals don’t like the Charest government

  1. "Liberals may be bottoming out at 30% in the polls, which really isn't so bad considering the staggering number of scandals they're fighting off."

    I think scandals only hurt governments when the scandal is considered beyond the pale or out of ordinary. Governments are inept and corrupt so people get used to typical government behaviour.

    Also, my impression is Francophones tolerate scandals and corruption much more than Anglos do. As just one example, corruption/mafia/construction in Montreal and elsewhere have been an issue for decades and little or nothing has been done about it.

    • "Also, my impression is Francophones tolerate scandals and corruption much more than Anglos do. As just one example, corruption/mafia/construction in Montreal and elsewhere have been an issue for decades and little or nothing has been done about it."


      Well the refusal of the provincial Liberals to investigate corruption in the construction industry is probably the main factor in the Charest government's plunge in the polls.

      Any other evidence to back up for theory?

      You'll note of course that it was René Lévesque who led the way in cleaning up the financing of political parties.

    • what an ignorant statement

      it was the anglophones and allophones that voted Mayor Tremblay and his corrupt party into power in Montreal. Francophohones largely voted for other parties like Louise Harel's. The francopphone media quipped that the anglophones would prefer to have the mafia in government rather than a separatist.

      Likewise, it is the anglophone and allophone block vote that keeps Charest and his corrupt Liberals in power. Francophones voted for other parties like the PQ or ADQ or Quebec solidaire.

      You can shove your theory that francophones tolerate more corruption than anglophones. If the anglophones really want less corruption in Quebec, they would vote for the PQ and for the independence of Quebec. The PQ had proven to be an excelent party under René Lévesque and under Lucien Bouchard and would continue to be an excellent party under Marois.

    • They don't tolerate more than Anglo's quite the opposite . They draw it out in the open like now, why do you think that their present administration is so unpopular? , majority of french citizen are mad! What'ss allot more scary is when Canadians in other province try to do the same , they are muffled, made quite shut down. Try the scandal of the liberal of Jean Chrétien, ( that was funny trying to make this one stick to Quebec , hey i didn't know Ottawa moved from Ontario to Quebec, any way). good that theses fellows push to reform, to adress real problems. Mccleans should start looking in our own back yard . They look less like ''gossop from the inquirer''.

  2. Given Quebec's other choices, it'll be Charest and the Liberals again.

  3. Sorry to interrupt, Phillipe, but what exactly does this have to do with the census? :)

    • I mean, would it kill you to do a post that has actual relevance to Canadians? Not on minor curiosities regarding who might actually be making decisions in Quebec following the next election, but on the quality of census information that the government will have available to it? Can we please look at the big picture here?

      • Yes, I'm sure Canadians will barely notice if the separatists regain power in Quebec in 2012 or 2013. By then they'll be far more preoccupied with the impending doomsday: January 30, 2015.

        On that dread day, the inaccurate data from the 2011 census will released, triggering the collapse of our society as the government, deprived of vital data, thrashes around blindly and destroys itself.

        • You mean…the world doesn't end in 2012?

          • Nope. Not unless you're a devout Mayan, in which case you'll be raptured.

          • Kay, just wanted to be sure. LOL

          • Thanks for reminding us. I'd forgotten about the Mayan calendar. I thought she was referring to the pending Conservative majority government in the general election of 2012.

        • For someone with name like critical reasoning you fail to live up to it when commenting on the census issue.
          I don't think anyone that should be taken seriously has claimed that it'll be the end of society as we know it because of the scrapping of the long form.

          • Avez-vous le sens de l'humour?

            Click on my name and check out my recent comment history if you're interested to know what I think about the census issue. I'm opposed to Clement's changes, and I've said so many times.

  4. The polls shouldn't be a surprise.

    Liberals are tanking in both Federal and provincial jurisdictions. That's what happens when you become a party of gimmicks, run by a bunch of people that seek only power, and not sound policy.

    • The only thing that isn't surprising is people incapable of formulating a coherent political opinion claiming they understand the inner workings of a group of people that encompasses individuals from coas-to-coast.

  5. They do not even need to threaten people to get those data…