TORONTO -- The federal Liberals have maintained a strong lead in the battleground province of Quebec through the first half of the election campaign.
The latest polling from Nanos Research asked 828 voters in Quebec: “If a federal election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?” and found the Liberals hold 35.3 per cent support in the province, which is down from 36.2 from a week ago, but still substantially ahead of the second-place Bloc Quebecois with 22 per cent support.
“The Liberals have the advantage, but both the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois are very competitive once you step out of the greater Montreal area,” pollster Nik Nanos told CTV News on Wednesday.
Nanos said it will be important to watch what happens outside of Montreal because it could determine the outcome of the election.
“I think the reality is that the seats that are most in play are outside of Montreal and this is where you get into vote splits,” he said.
While the majority of party support in Quebec has remained fairly flat, the Green Party is an exception. The Greens saw support rise from 5.8 per cent to 10.1 per cent through the mid-way point of the campaign, but they remain in fifth place overall.
Nanos attributed this bump in support for the Greens to the massive climate strike that took place in Montreal last week.
“We do know from our polling that Quebecers are very passionate about the environment and this really aligns well with the Green Party of Canada,” he said.
What remains to be seen, however, is whether this is just a temporary boost for the party or a sign of a new trend, Nanos said.
“The opportunity for the Greens relates to focusing on the environment and trying to galvanize Quebecers on that issue,” he said.
In Montreal, home to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s Papineau riding, support for the Liberals is even greater. Trudeau’s party holds 39.7 per cent support through the first 20 days of the election, compared to the Bloc’s 21.9 per cent.
The NDP gained 3.2 percentage points in Montreal compared to the first 10 days of the election, bringing them to within 0.4 percentage points from the Conservatives for third place.
Much like the province overall, the Greens are seeing an increase in popularity in Montreal through the midway point. Support for the party rose 6.1 percentage points to 10.5 per cent, though it remains in fifth place.
When looking at the province of Quebec excluding Montreal, support for the Conservatives fell by the end of the first 20 days of the campaign and now sit 7.6 percentage points behind the Liberals, at 21.8.
Nanos said the Liberals have faced setbacks during the campaign and Quebec is the one region where they need to pick up seats in order to hold on to the government.
For the Conservatives, on the other hand, Nanos said any seats they win in Quebec will just be a bonus for them.
As for the Bloc Quebecois, Nanos said the party has been bolstered by its support for the provincial religious symbols ban and is doing better than it has in elections past.
“Watch for the Bloc to hold 10 to 20 seats, perhaps even the balance of power in a new House of Commons,” he said.
This report is comprised of a comparison of days 1-10 and days 11-20 of the campaign for voters in the province of Quebec for the period ending Sept. 30, 2019. The margin of error for a survey of 782 or 828 respondents is ±3.5 or ±3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error for smaller samples will be wider. The geographic sub samples within Quebec were geographically weighted to their true population proportion.