Quebec’s NDP Wave Died Out–Harris-Decima Poll

Julian Wolfe
December 15th, 2011

Poll suggests the tide is turning<br/> on NDP in Quebec
A new Harris-Decima poll suggests that the NDP is now tied with the Bloc Quebecois for first place in the province. At 26% a piece, the NDP has dropped significantly by 16 points since the May election. The NDP losses were distributed at 3 for the Bloc Quebecois, 1 for the Conservatives, 5 for Greens and 6 for the Liberals which shows the Liberals and Greens as the big gainers in Quebec to propel them to second/third place.

“This really is the NDP in free fall in Quebec,” said Harris-Decima chairman Allan Gregg.


Harris-Decima Poll Quebec

NDP: 26% Down 16

Bloc Quebecois: 26% Up 3

Liberals: 20% Up 6

Conservatives: 17% Up 1

Green: 7% Up 5


With the NDP’s aspirations for power reliant on the loyalty of Quebec, it turns out that Quebec’s political nature has done it again. Anyone who is surprised shouldn’t be – at least if you’re a Quebecor. In Quebec, political supports shift drastically and radically. In 2008, third party and right-leaning ADQ lead by Mario Dumont nearly toppled the Charest Liberals to form a government but instead served as a strong official opposition. In the subsequent election, The PQ and Liberals gained back much of their seats laving the ADQ as a rump. Quebecors are unhappy with what they have, but they aren’t up in heels over their alternatives. Proof that Quebec doesn’t like what it has is its fond attraction to Francois Legault, the former PQ minister who recently formed a new right-leaning political party and merged with the remnants of the ADQ and call themselves the CAQ. If an election were held today, Legault would form a strong majority government with over 80 seats leaving the Liberals and PQ at 30 seats a piece – these are Quebec’s two traditional parties. Chances are that this new-found love affair will end as abruptly as the one with the ADQ did and as the one with the NDP did.


Many NDP strategists may interpret their gains in Quebec as a big thing, but the NDP have overestimated the clout of their party. The party went in free-fall ever since Jack Layton died and frankly, none of their leadership candidates are inspiring and the party as a whole has fumbled as an official opposition in Ottawa. While the NDP still believe there is hope in the next election, and while it is always too soon to predict Quebec’s actions, from a strategic point of view, and from a realistic one, it is a certainty that the NDP are on their way out and that the other political parties will start to regain their share of the seats.


As a solid indicator of the true shape of the NDP in Quebec, the veteran pollster cannot remember a day where a party lost so much ground during a leadership race.


“Conventional wisdom is that leadership contests help the party that’s holding them, that the more candidates, the bigger the help,” he said.


“It puts the future of the NDP in the province of Quebec front and center in the leadership race,” he said. “It raises the stakes in the leadership, it really does.”


On a nationwide scale, this recent Harris Decima Poll differs from the Nanos Poll from the end of November.


Harris-Decima Poll Nationwide

Conservatives: 34%

NDP: 28%

Liberals: 22%


Nanos Poll Nationwide

Conservatives: 35.6%

Liberals: 28.1%

NDP: 27.3%


Either way, without Quebec, it is highly improbable that the NDP will be able to gain enough ground to form a government, let alone maintain what it has. While it is too soon to tell, it is very safe to say that the volatile situation in Quebec politics has shut the door on a Layton-less NDP and it is no big surprise that the NDP wave last may was nothing more than a Layton wave and Layton is gone now. Logically speaking, if the NDP were strong in Quebec, why would a right-leaning party be gaining momentum, and not the NDP’s cousin, the Quebec Solidaire?

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