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?

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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.