Canadians, Quebecers Would Not See PQ Win as Call for Sovereignty

by Angus Reid | August 15, 2012 9:02 am

Few Canadians, and even fewer Quebecers, would interpret a victory by the Parti Québécois in next month’s provincial election as consent to seek sovereignty, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 1,505 Canadian adults, 45 per cent of respondents in Canada—and 67 per cent in Quebec—believe a PQ victory would mean that Quebecers want a different provincial government than the one they have now.

Only 29 per cent of Canadians, and just one-in-five Quebecers (20%), would regard a PQ win as a sign that Quebecers want to become a sovereign state.

Across the country, three-in-ten respondents (29%) have followed the Quebec electoral campaign “very closely” or “moderately closely”—a proportion that jumps to 67 per cent in Quebec.

One of the most discussed proposals in the Quebec campaign is a PQ promise to allow citizens to hold non-binding, province-wide referenda on proposals that garner the support of 15% of the Quebec electorate. One-in-four Canadians (24%) support this idea, while 45 per cent oppose it. In Quebec, two-in-five respondents (39%) are in favour of the PQ’s referendum proposal, but almost half (47%) disagree with it. It is important to note that the level of strong opposition to the referendum promise (39%) clearly outranks strong support (14%).

While about three-in-ten Canadians (28%) think the federal government should “definitely” or “probably” allow Quebec to become a sovereign state, a majority of respondents (55%) believe Quebec should not be allowed to attain sovereignty. In Quebec, 47 per cent of respondents think Ottawa should allow Quebec to become sovereign, while 37 per cent disagree.

The highest level of rejection to Quebec sovereignty is observed in British Columbia (65%). In Alberta, a third of respondents (32%) would allow Quebec to become a sovereign state—the largest proportion in any region outside Quebec.

Across the country, 40 per cent of respondents say they are “very confident” or “moderately confident” in Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper being able to deal with the issue of Quebec sovereignty. The rating is slightly lower for New Democratic Party (NDP) and Official Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair (37%), and lower still for interim Liberal Party leader Bob Rae (30%) and Green Party leader Elizabeth May (15%).

In Quebec, more than half of respondents express confidence in Mulcair to handle this issue properly, while just 23 per cent feel the same way about Harper.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)[1]

Methodology: From August 13 to August 14, 2012, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,505 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

  1. Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF):

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