According to the latest polls, the Quebec Liberals are poised to pull off an upset and form government after the April 7 vote. This, after the Parti Québécois was initially leading.
…but will the polls be right? Pollsters across Canada — different firms using different methodologies — have had a mixed track record over the last two years in provincial elections. First there was the 2012 Alberta election, that the opposition Wildrose was expected to win, but instead the incumbent Progressive Conservatives stayed in power. In 2013, the B.C. Liberals held on even though most polls showed the NDP were going to take it in a landslide. Later in 2013, though, the pollsters were almost exactly right in how they measured support in Nova Scotia.
So what will happen in Quebec? Éric Grenier, who writes a weekly column about polling for Globe and Mail subscribers, takes a look at that in his article today:
While there is always the possibility of a late and dramatic swing in voting intentions, which appears to have been the cause of most of the error in Alberta, the difficulty in identifying who will turn out to the polls (the issue in B.C.) remains. One pollster in this campaign (Ipsos Reid) is separately reporting likely voter results, a strategy that was used with success by Abacus Data in the most recent provincial election, which occurred in Nova Scotia in October. Hopefully the lessons learned over the last few years will pay dividends on Monday.
But if voting intentions swing dramatically or fail to capture the intentions of actual voters, a wider range of outcomes can be imagined. The Liberals could win between 53 and 85 seats while the PQ could take between 36 and 63. The ingredients for a PQ surprise are there – perhaps even a slim majority government – but the likelihood is small.
— Chris Hannay, digital politics editor