Quebec poll before election call points to narrow separatist win 0
Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois marches in the St. Jean-Baptiste parade in Montreal, June 24, 2012. (JOEL LEMAY/QMI Agency)
Quebec separatists have enough public support to secure a narrow win in an election expected on Sept. 4, according to a poll released on Wednesday.
A Leger Marketing survey for the QMI news agency put support for the Parti Quebecois at 33 percent with the governing Liberals at 31 percent.
The way the vote is distributed means the Parti Quebecois would gain significantly more seats than the Liberals.
“If there were an election today the result would be a minority Parti Quebecois government,” pollster Jean-Marc Leger told the Journal de Montreal.
Quebec’s Liberal Premier Jean Charest is set to launch the election campaign later on Wednesday.
A new party, the Coalition for the Future of Quebec, is in third place with 21 percent public support. The party has never contested an election before, and it is not clear what impact the party could have on the overall campaign.
If the Parti Quebecois wins a minority government it would need support from other parties to push through key legislation, and would therefore probably not be able to hold a referendum on breaking away from the rest of Canada.
The Liberals want to keep Quebec within Canada. The Coalition wants more rights for Quebec but says all talk about sovereignty should be off for a decade to focus on improving the economy.
Previous PQ governments held referendums on separation in 1980 and 1995, but both failed.
The Leger internet poll of 1,648 adults was conducted between July 29 and 31 and is considered accurate to within 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.