Quebec stunner: Liberal minority government, ADQ close second

Update 2: Democratic Space provides an overview of the projections and where they were wrong. Excerpts:

Our under-estimation of the ADQ came from a greater than expected swing towards the ADQ in just 2 regions: Lanaudiere-Laurentides and the Monteregie (largely due to the abandonment of the PQ in these regions). […]

Overall, of the 21 incorrect ridings, 16 were in our “too-close-to-call” or “tight race” categories. So there were 5 genuine surprises.

(Well, the real surprise is that virtually every close riding swung the same way. In other words, it was not a case of “too close to call” but of the pollsters having missing the underlying trend.)

The remainder of this planting is unchanged since last night, but comments have kept coming in.

The Quebec provincial election has produced a Liberal minority government, the first resulting from an election in the history of the province (and the first at any time since 1878).

But here is the stunning part: The close race proved to be not between the Liberals and the Parti Québécois, but between the Liberals the Action Démocratique du Québec!

The ADQ, which had five seats in the previous parliament, will have 41 members in the new one, just seven seats behind the Liberals. Current Premier Jean Charest barely held his own riding. The PQ has 36 seats.

In the votes, it was Liberal 33.1%, ADQ 30.8, PQ 28.3, Green 3.9, Québec Solidaire 3.7.

I agree with those who say this result gives federal Prime Minister Stephen Harper the incentive to force (and lose) a vote of confidence sooner rather than later: The provincial ADQ vote surge is encouraging news for Harper’s federal Conservatives. They just might gain enough in Quebec to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons. The very bad result for the PQ is also bad news for its federal equivalent, the Bloc Québécois. Looks like the BQ was right to fear an election, as I suggested in commenting on their support of the recently tabled federal budget.

0 thoughts on “Quebec stunner: Liberal minority government, ADQ close second

  1. This is some fascinating election watching. And with Charest losing his seats, I’ve got think it will be a volatile parliament.

    I look forward to blogging the aftermath. And showing how a fair voting system would make l’Assemblee Nationale work better.

  2. Looks like the final show down is :

    -Liberals: 46 seats and 32.8% of popular vote
    -ADQ: 42 seats and 31.0% of popular vote
    -PQ: 37 seats and 28.4% of popular vote
    -Greens: 0 seats and 3.9% of popular vote
    -Quebec Solidaire: 0 seats and 3.7 % of popular vote.

    Andre Boisclair (PQ) just finished is speech and he did not resign.

    Jean Charest (Liberals) just got re-elected by a few votes in his Sherbrook ridding.

    Mario Dumont (ADQ) is on is way to stage for his speech.

  3. The elects are extremely proportionate for a FPTP system. How can Quebec use a FPTP system and yet get results that are as proportionate as a system of proportional representation produce? This is a very unusual fluke. The votes of each party matches how many seats a party got very well.

    Will this election make Quebec move to a MMP system? If not, then Will ADQ replace Bloc Quebecois? Quebec has gone from Federalism vs. Sovereignty to Federalism vs. Autonomy vs. Sovereignty in discuised?

  4. It will indeed be interesting to see if the Liberals, now in the minority, go ahead with electoral reform. The MMP system they proposed — a one-vote system — was clearly designed to promote their own interests, specifically to rectify the existence of disproportionality in favour of the PQ under the present system. But now what?

  5. Pingback: PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts

  6. The most immediate fallout of the election will be a quick federal election.

    The ADQ is more right-leaning both socially and fiscally, and so Stephen Harper will see this as an indication that Quebeckers are more willing to consider his party.

    In addition, a huge (massive!) chunk of Stephane Dion’s potential platform has just disappeared. Had the Pequistes won, even a minority, Stephane Dion could have solidified both the hard and soft federalist vote in Quebec behind him for fear of another referendum. This will be seen within Quebec as nothing less than a vindication of Stephen Harper’s view of federalism.

    What does that mean when it comes to all-important seat count?

    Well, it’s unlikely Stephane Dion can commute a loss in Quebec into a majority. So we are left with three possibilities:

    – A Liberal minority (unlikely)
    – Status quo (likely)
    – A Conservative majority (a distinct possibility).

  7. “Had the Pequistes won, even a minority, Stephane Dion could have solidified both the hard and soft federalist vote in Quebec behind him for fear of another referendum. This will be seen within Quebec as nothing less than a vindication of Stephen Harper’s view of federalism.”

    That point applies to the rest of Canada as well.

    The federal Liberals always had an extremely confrontational attitude toward the separatist movement. To quote former Liberal minister, Jean Lapierre*, “In Quebec, the fight between the Liberals and the Bloc is metal against metal!”. That’s been the Liberal approach eversince the 1995 referendum, and Stephane Dion has been at the forefront of it.

    When Harper, took power the PQ was going toward what was sean as an easy victory. One year later, the PQ has just suffered its worst defeat since 1970. Harper has adopted a totally different approach when dealing with Quebec. Of course, the original goal of that policy was to win more seats in Quebec. But reinforcing national unity is not exactly a negative side effect and it’s a good electoral line outside of Quebec.

    * Also a former founder of the Bloc Quebecois, but that’s an other story.

  8. Pingback: Fruits and Votes

  9. Québec Solidaire did much better than I expected in Mercier, with almost 30% of the vote and only 1123 votes from a win. It’s hard to say whether the impression that the QS couldn’t win a seat helped or hurt them, but it’s no longer a certainty.

    I’m hesitant to attempt more analysis until we have a better idea of how the parties will be positioning themselves in the minority assembly, and which leaders will be keeping their jobs. For now, I’ll just wonder whether Dumont is regretting his statement about never forming a coalition between the second- and third-place parties…

  10. Local media have been widely reporting that Charest is going to call an election for Dec. 8. Yet another election is not something that seems particularly necessary to most Québecois, so far as I can tell. Well, at least this election fatigue can become another argument in favour of PR.

  11. Sounds like Quebec needs to get rid of its complicated system of proportional representation, and replace it with a single-member system that will guarantee majority governments and a stable two-party system…

  12. So now we have the governing party, the Liberals, claiming that government is not working and we need a change, while the opposition PQ and ADQ argue that everything is working fine. Is there not something strange about this? I almost hope we have another minority government simply so the parties get used to this situation, and stop acting like it’s just a way-station on the road to a majority.

  13. MSS, sorry if I have missed a Vanuatu-specific area of F&V, but I see that in that country’s September 2 election, the party with the most votes (admittedly only 24.23%) was under-represented (only 11 seats out of 52, ie 21.15%).

    I have banged my head against a wall for 20-plus years trying to find out what sort of electoral system Vanuatu uses. All I can glean from various sources is (a) there are 17 districts (ie, average 3.059 seats per district), (b) results seem to be roughly proportional, given the very small districts, (c) but probably not list-PR as high-profile MPs (eg, former PM Barak Sope) do lose their seats now and then, and (d) presumably not STV else I would have heard about it.

    I read one news report in the 1980s that said Vanuatua uses proportional representation, and another the same year which said it uses first-past-the-post, so my best guess (to make sense of all the above data) is SNTV…?

  14. Thanks, Vasi. In addition, SNTV is one of the very few electoral systems I can think of (the other is largest-remainder PR with Hare quota) that might conceivably under-represent the plurality party! (if its leading candidates “hog” too many votes – or, conversely, try to share the wealth with their running-mates but end up losing their own seat).

  15. Well, there’s not much in common between Quebec and Vanuatu. But F&V does have an entire block devoted to SNTV!

    And, yes on SNTV and LR-Hare (or SQLR): two systems that have a high propensity to overrepresent the smallest parties. See the Colombia block, where this has been discussed extensively.

    Of course, most actual SNTV systems over-represent the largest, but only because the largest party usually has the means to engage in strategic vote-division and thus reduce the “error” rate (defined as the failure to win seats proportionate to the aggregate votes of its candidates for reason of over- or under-nomination or failure to equalize votes). It is the mid-sized parties that tend to be the biggest losers.

    OK, let’s keep the orchard tidy. Please, no more Vanuatu/SNTV discussion here. Sowing that second seed violates some laws, you know. 🙂

  16. Sorry o Supreme Keeper of the Orchard. My posting started off as a “plurality under-representation” sub-thread before it definitively ripened (so to speak) into an SNTV sub-thread…. You need a (clearly visible) Search function for F&V (Google, for some reason, is no help). Please prune and transplant at discretion!

  17. I think the correct term is mutated.

    I had a search function but it was lousy. I have had mixed success with Google searches of the blog myself. Word Press has a good internal search, but only for those logged in to the blog’s admin area.

    But remember that any country/province/region that I have covered, as well as electoral systems and constitutional types will have its “block” linked on the left sidebar. It is imperfect, I know, but for now it’s the best I have.

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