Boisclair responds to disappointing poll numbers
Published Friday, March 2, 2007 5:47PM EST
Parti Quebecois Leader Andre Boisclair has a simple message for those who believe disappointing poll results portend the demise of the sovereigntist party when Quebecers vote on March 26.
"Just watch us go," Boisclair said Friday. "Just watch (us) the next few weeks focus on issues, talking to Quebecers, talking about their real interests.
"We're still running the same campaign with the same determination. I think things are working very well, day after day."
Boisclair was being grilled after a Leger Marketing poll suggested the Liberals had the support of 32 per cent of Quebecers, compared with 25 per cent for the PQ and 21 per cent for the Action democratique du Quebec.
The numbers then climbed another four percentage points for each party once the votes of undecided respondents were redistributed.
The Feb. 24-28 poll of 3,101 people is considered accurate within 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Perhaps just as worrisome as the party numbers for Boisclair was another aspect of the poll which found that only 19 per cent of respondents believed he would make the best premier.
Premier Jean Charest clocked in at 30 per cent, while ADQ Leader Mario Dumont was at 26 per cent.
The poll also indicated the ADQ had made inroads in different regions of the province at the expense of both its rivals.
Support throughout the province is exactly what Dumont needs if the party is to improve on the five seats it had when the 125-member national assembly was dissolved last week.
The right-leaning ADQ walks a fine line on the national question in its bid to take a chunk of support from both its rivals.
If it is seen as too pro-sovereigntist, it loses out on the Liberal vote. If it is viewed as too federalist, it squanders the chance to get the support of many Quebec nationalists.
With good reason, Dumont was cautious Friday when asked about the poll.
"We've done the work we've had to do," he said in Quebec City.
"There are three weeks left and we know what we have to do to make sure the positive trend we can feel will indeed be transformed into votes in the ballot boxes."
Leger Marketing president Jean-Marc Leger noted that the ADQ appears to be going in the opposite direction from four years ago.
Leger said the party was at 40 per cent support three months before the 2003 election and 25 per cent when the vote was called. It then fell to 18 per cent on election day.
This time around, according to Leger, the party was at 21 per cent in December.
Charest, who has taken to paying as much attention to the ADQ as he does to the PQ, tried to cast Dumont on Friday as someone federalists can't trust.
"Mr. Dumont has always sided with the separatists," Charest said.
The premier noted that Dumont supported the Yes side in the 1995 referendum campaign. Dumont has since renounced his support for sovereignty.
Boisclair, meanwhile, tried to deflect attention away from the poll numbers by talking about health care, which remains Quebecers' priority.
He said 1.6 million Quebecers don't have access to a family doctor and that the PQ would work to change that if elected.
He also promised better at-home care, saying the PQ would invest $450 million to "offer Quebecers a more humane service."
Dumont also had senior citizens on his mind Friday with a proposal for a public inquiry into the conditions in which the elderly live in long-term care institutions.
He said such an inquiry would cost several million dollars and lead to an overhaul of the system.
Both Dumont and Charest also came out against a Quebec radio host who said the PQ looks like a "club of fags."
Charest urged Quebecers to focus on issues in the election campaign and not on candidates' personal lives.
Charest said it's unacceptable to comment on the private life of the openly gay Boisclair or any other politician.
"It's not the Liberal leader who is speaking here," Charest said in Montreal.
"I'm speaking as the premier of Quebec. We want a campaign of ideas and depth and not on questions raised about people's private lives."