A steady flow of polls for Quebec this week, with widely varying results, but consistent on the trend front. The Harris Decima offering earlier this week stated the NDP were in “free fall” in Quebec, which caused quite a stir. I found the result interesting, but mentioned the word “outlier” because of the steep gradient, nothing of true substance to explain such a collapse. As often happens, Harris Decima was quickly followed by a Quebec only CROP poll, as well as this morning’s Leger result. Given the CROP and Leger polls come with much larger Quebec sample sizes, Harris Decima looks a bit suspect on the reliability front, although there is something instructive within their result.
Harris Decima pegs the NDP support at a lowly 26% in Quebec, tied with the Bloc, Liberals well up to 20%, Conservatives 17%. CROP shows no such thing, NDP at 36%, Bloc 22%, Conservatives 22%, Liberals 16&. Leger puts the NDP at 33%, Bloc 26%, Conservatives 18%, Liberals 17%. Again, I’m inclined to favour the Quebec only pollsters, the NDP aren’t falling apart in Quebec, BUT there is consistent evidence of decline. Leger sees NDP support “eroding”, slowly but surely and CROP does note a 7% drop since the election. As well, polls prior to this week have suggested a similar gentle decline for the NDP in Quebec. Harris Decima have picked up on the decline, but the amplification isn’t replicated and it’s only use, with confidence, would be on the trend front.
Taken in totality, it is objectively fair to say NDP fortunes are marginally on the wane in Quebec, the heights achieved during the election and afterwards have dissipated, suggesting a softness, which is hardly surprising. The NDP haven’t really distinguished themselves this fall, the leadership race has been pedestrian at best, and Ottawa “bubble” logic gives the Liberals the opposition nod in terms of effectiveness. That said, even the Harris Poll poll pegs the NDP support nationally a mere 6% behind the majority Conservatives, 6% up on the Liberals, so you could argue a certain firmness in the new world order of Canadian politics.
My view for quite some time has been don’t expect much in the way of poll movement until at least the NDP leadership resolution. There is some evidence we Liberals are performing well (particularly in Ontario), obviously indications that the NDP are off their dizzying heights in Quebec, the Bloc are still a factor and the Conservatives sit in their usual range. Unless we see some massive issue arise that draws the gaze of a slumbering national electorate, there is really nothing to suggest big support changes are in the offing. Perhaps the NDP continue to drop in Quebec, but until they have a new leader, any digestion is utterly meaningless to the longer perspective.
For the most part, Canadians have tucked away their majority government, just happy they don’t have to listen to constant electioneering and sabre rattling. Those seaching for deeper meaning will be left embarrassed, because the interest is actually superficial and sporadic. As for the NDP in Quebec, considering their “wave” came about so quickly and spontaneously, some sober pullback is expected and only when we see a new leader in action, should we truly take measure of future prospects.