Quebec election race tight as media mogul joins race: poll
By Randall Palmer
OTTAWA (Reuters) - The separatist Parti Quebecois is no longer in the lead in Quebec's provincial election campaign, though it would likely win the most seats in the April 7 vote if current support holds, according to a recent poll.
An Internet survey by the polling firm CROP released on Sunday night puts support for the ruling Parti Quebecois (PQ), which wants Quebec to separate from Canada, at 36 percent. This is the same level as the pro-Canada Liberal Party of Quebec, with the smaller Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) at 17 percent.
The poll was taken before a surprise announcement on Sunday that media mogul Pierre-Karl Peladeau, the former chief executive of Quebecor Inc, would be running on the PQ ticket for a seat in the provincial legislature.
The French arm of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, which commissioned the CROP poll (link.reuters.com/qed57v), put the data out under a headline that said "PQ majority far from assured."
A previous poll released on March 5 at the start of the campaign showed the PQ ahead with 37 percent support to the Liberal Party's 35 percent.
The question of whether the separatists win a majority in the provincial legislature is critical because with it they would be in a stronger position to launch what could be Quebec's third referendum on whether to leave Canada.
The PQ won the last election 18 months ago but its hands were tied because it only had a minority of seats. The other two main parties oppose a referendum.
The Internet survey of 1,400 respondents, which is not fully random like a phone poll, was taken March 5-8. Continued...