Quebecers fleeing separatists, Liberals, poll shows

Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:12pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A political party that does not yet exist would win the next Quebec election handily, beating both the ruling Liberals and separatists who want independence for the Canadian province, a poll indicated on Thursday.

The CROP survey for La Presse showed that 38 percent of voters would support a center-right Coalition for the Future of Quebec, currently a focus group looking at ways of improving the province without debating its place inside Canada

The survey indicates deep dissatisfaction with decades of arguments about the role of the French-speaking province ahead of an election that is likely in 2012.

"(The) biggest attraction is the idea of change. People want to vote for something new, something other than an old party," CROP's Youri Rivest told La Presse.

Both the Liberals and the PQ's federal partners, the Bloc Quebecois, bombed in the May federal election, when the left-leaning New Democrats won a big majority of Quebec seats.

The Coalition, launched in February by former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister Francois Legault, could offer another alternative, although Legault has not yet said if he will turn the Coalition into a political party.

A 38 percent share of the vote would in theory enough to win a narrow majority of seats in the provincial legislature. The Liberals were on 27 percent and the PQ on 18 percent.

The PQ led in the polls until June, when several of their top legislators quit in a mutiny over policies that slashed the party's popularity.   Continued...

<p>A Quebec flag flaps in the sky during the Moulin a Parole, a 24-hour long series of public readings, on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, September 13, 2009. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger</p>