As the Quebec Liberals pack up following a historic defeat in Monday’s provincial election, a new study by the Angus Reid Institute offers some insight into the motivation of election voters that drove François Legault and the Coalition Avenir Québec to power.
The diminishing approval rating of the Liberals combined with the execution of key issues like health car, education and immigration, played a major role in the political power shift in the province.
According to the report, only three out of ten Quebecers thought the province was on the right track, leading up to election day.
In claiming the majority government, the CAQ became the first party since 1966 other than the Liberals and the Parti Quebecois to hold power in Quebec.
The Angus Reid Institute tested some of the election policy options by offering them blindly, without party attribution, to Quebecers.
The report indicated that healthcare was the leading issue. Those who thought the province was on the right track, and the wrong track, chose healthcare as their top issue. The CAQ, had healthcare as their top priority while the Liberals had economy and environment.
Immigration and Values
François Legault stated his government would reduce the number of immigrants and impose a language and values test within three years. He would expel those who do not pass.
It is notable that the CAQ had the support of two-thirds of residents, with almost four-of-ten strongly supporting the test.
Tied for second among the most important issues across the province, each party put forth plans to increase spending in the education sector. The Liberals planned to increase spending by $2.8 billion over five years, a policy that was positively received.
For the Parti Quebecois, sovereignty remained an import issue. More than 84% of PQ supporters were for the pursuit of independence even though the party’s leader, Jean-François Lisée, stated they would not seek a referendum in their first term.
Half of the CAQ voters said they opposed pursuing sovereignty which boded well for the party that chooses to disengage from the federalism-versus-sovereignty debate.
The environment was a key issue for 29% of the voters, especially for the young voters who supported Quebec Solidaire.
While almost twice as many voters named healthcare as the top priority, the CAQ, who also prioritized health care, lead all parties.
Philippe Couillard can shoulder some of the blame for his party’s departure, his disapproval rating prior to the election was more than twice as bad as his approval rating. CAQ came into the elections, even.
Ultimately, the Quebec Liberal party received the most votes claiming that Quebec was on the right track.
The desire for a change in Quebec prompted trust in François Legault and the Coalition Avenir Québec, as the majority of voters indicated that the incumbent government wasn’t steering the province in the proper direction.