YGRECK, Journal de Montréal
A moderately big surprise here in Quebec: Jack Layton is the most popular leader in Quebec. You’ll note the lack of the usual ‘federalist’ leader caveat here, because ol’ Jack has pulled ahead of even Gilles Duceppe in the province for the first time in recorded history. Now for the caveats: this is one poll, polls are fleeting, and the NDP’s support is still very much in the ‘spoiler’ (not ‘winner’) category, as its support is spread thin across the province. Also, the party doesn’t have the vote-harvesting machinery of the other parties that translates support into results.
But still. Jack Layton! The Bloc has long benefited from Quebec’s progressive but non-sovereignist vote, simply because there was no other viable lefty party in the province. Much as it may like Duceppe personally, this demographic has always been orphaned somewhat, especially when Duceppe very publicly reminds everyone that the Bloc will work with the Parti Québécois.
It seems Layton is managing to steal away at least some of this not-inconsiderable wedge. No wonder Duceppe is suddenly commenting on polls—even though he has sworn up and down for years that he doesn’t comment on polls. (Memo to Gilles: it smells a little of desperation when you use a column from the more-federalist-than-thou André Pratte to back up your argument…)