A new poll shows a big drop in support for sovereignty in the wake of the federal election:
The CROP poll for the La Presse newspaper showed only 34 percent of Quebecers would vote “yes” in a referendum on whether to split from the rest of Canada, down steeply from 43 percent before last week’s federal election. The number who would vote “no” rose to 58 percent from 49 percent.
The newspaper linked the drop in support for separatism to the election result. The Conservatives beat the Liberals, who had been badly hurt by a corruption scandal in Quebec which damaged the image of federalism in the province.
The Conservatives promised to be more sensitive to Quebec’s demands for more freedom inside Canada. They won 10 of the provinces’ 75 seats, up from none before the election.
That’s all very well and good right now. But the Tories haven’t even taken office yet. Just wait until they have a chance to break those promises. By the time the next provincial election rolls around, I suspect sovereignty support will be up again.
I think Charest should call a referendum immediately, with a question phrased such that a “no” vote would put the matter to rest for another, say, 50 years. Such a strategy would catch the separatists off guard and take advantage of the timing quite nicely. Not to mention being a big waste of time and money. But hey, that’ll happen anyway, right? So why not head it off at the pass?
Update 02/02: CROP now says the polling numbers were wrong; it should’ve said that 37% of people would vote “yes” and 55% would vote no. CROP apologized and blamed “data compilation error” for the incorrect figures. This still indicates a drop in support for sovereignty, albeit a smaller one.