Quebec Liberals ahead, but short of majority: poll

Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:10pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Quebec's ruling Liberals are ahead of their separatist rivals in the run-up to a December 8 election in the Canadian province but look unlikely to turn their minority into a majority, according to a new poll.

The Leger Marketing poll for the Montreal Gazette and the Journal de Montreal put the Liberals at 41 percent public support and the separatist Parti Quebecois at 35 percent.

The right-leaning Action democratique du Quebec was at 14 percent. The poll appeared on Tuesday, which was a public holiday in Canada.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest called the election last Wednesday, saying he needed a strong mandate to steer the predominantly French-speaking province through the global financial crisis.

Charest won a majority in the 2003 election but barely hung on to power in the next election in March 2007, when the Liberals won 33 percent of the vote -- just two points more than the ADQ -- while the PQ took 28 percent.

The Liberals have 48 of the 125 seats in Quebec's National Assembly. The ADQ, which has slumped in popularity over recent months, has 39 seats, while the Parti Quebecois has 36. There are two vacancies.

The Leger poll of 1,001 adults was conducted between Nov 7 and 9 and is considered accurate to within 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)