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Parti Quebecois one point away from majority, poll shows

By Giuseppe Valiante, National Bureau


With two days until Quebec's provincial election, the separatist Parti Quebecois remained poised to win a majority government, according to an exclusive Leger Marketing poll conducted for QMI Agency.

The last QMI Agency poll before Quebecers vote on Sept. 4 placed the PQ in the lead at 33%, with the CAQ in second at 28% and the Liberals at 27%.

The percentages for all three major parties remained unchanged since the last Leger poll, which was published on Aug. 24.

Jean-Marc Leger, president of Leger Marketing, told QMI Agency PQ Leader Pauline Marois is statistically one point away from gaining enough of the popular vote to win a majority government.

However, Leger said he is not ready to predict even a minority win for the PQ - not with 28% of respondents saying they could change their mind come election day. As well, 6% of respondents either refused to answer the survey or said they still didn't know who they would vote for.

Moreover, the right-of-centre and economic nationalist CAQ vote is fickle, according to the poll.

Of those who said they would vote CAQ, 37% said they could change their mind, compared with 15% for the PQ and 27% for the Liberals. Additionally, 31% of respondents who supported the CAQ said their second choice would be the Liberals, compared with 22% who said they would choose the PQ second.

Leger said the results are heavily riding on turnout - which he expects to be high, at around 70%, compared with 57% during the 2008 provincial election.

And higher turnouts are often bad news for incumbent parties, "because it means voters are looking for change," Leger said.

If interest in the election campaign is an indicator, then turnout will be high.

The poll found 90% of respondents said they have taken an interest in the election campaign, with 43% responding they have taken a "big interest." Only 1% of respondents said they didn't plan to vote.

Leger polled 1,856 Quebecers over 18 years old between August 29-31. Respondents came from Leger's Internet panel database of 185,000 people in Quebec. Results are considered to have a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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