While much of the campaign leading up to the April 7 Quebec election is focused on the controversial Charter of Values and the prospects of a referendum, a new poll suggests that voters want the next government to prioritize two things completely different.

A new CTV News/Ipsos Reid poll found that 28 per cent of voters say the next government's agenda should be led by creating a better economy and more jobs.

"As much as the talk of the election has been about the referendum, integrity and the Charter of Values…what the citizens have in mind for what the government should be doing is quite far from what the candidates have spoken to us about," Luc Durand, President of Ipsos Reid Quebec, told CTVNews.ca Friday. "There's a discrepancy there."

Next on the priority list is providing better health care at 17 per cent, followed by debt repayment and balancing the budget at 12 per cent, lowering taxes at 11 per cent, ensuring integrity in government and its leaders at 9 per cent, and fighting corruption at 6 per cent.

While the start of the election campaign was fought on the merits of the Charter of Values, just 4 per cent of Quebecers believe the implementation of the proposed charter should be the number-one priority for the next government.

In its election platform, the Parti Quebecois places the proposed charter and protecting the French language at the top of its list of priorities.

While supporters of every party indicated that the economy should be the most important issue for the next government, the strength of that sentiment varies among parties:

  • Liberal supporters 40%
  • Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) supporters 26%
  • PQ supporters 24%
  • Quebec Solidaire supporters 21%

Values charter, sovereignty low priorities for voters:

Only one per cent of those surveyed said holding a referendum for sovereignty should be the top priority of the next government, the poll showed.

Throughout the campaign, PQ Leader Pauline Marois has tried to shift her campaign’s focus away from the sovereignty matter with little success, Durand said.

"The PQ and Pauline Marois tried very hard to bring the discussion to another area, to remove the referendum issue from the discussion, but the fact is that it seems to be impossible to get away from," he said. "In the minds of the voters, it’s a topic that's quite divisive in this election."

An earlier CTV/Ipsos poll showed 24 per cent of Quebecers who said they're casting a ballot on April 7 have based their decision on the perceived chance of another referendum.

Meanwhile, the PQ platform states the party will call a referendum when the time is right, but doesn't commit to a timeframe.

With only a couple days of campaigning left, polling shows the Liberals are ahead with 37 per cent support, compared to the PQ's 28 per cent support.

But Durand says much can change between now and the election on Monday.

"One-third of the electorate says as much they have a preference for a party, they still can change their mind right now and they still can change their vote."