Quebec Studies

The 2007 Elections in Québec and the Future of the Provincial Party System

Quebec Studies (2009), 47, (1), 119–140.

Abstract

119 The 2007 Elections in Québec and the Future of the Provincial Party System James P. Allan Wittenberg University Richard Vengroff Kennesaw State University Introduction The 2007 general election continued a pattern of electoral change in Q u é b e c . The previous three elections in Q u é b e c h a d signaled a progressive incre­ mental change in Q u e b e c ' s party system (Vengroff and Fisher 1995; Allan, O'Reilly, and Vengroff 2 0 0 1 ; Allan and Vengroff 2004). T h o s e changes, manifested in increasing voter de-alignment a n d volatility in party support, were destined to play themselves out even more in the Provincial elections of 2007, and this turned out to be the case. A s argued b y Bélanger and Stephenson (2007) partisanship in C a n a d i a n federal parties, including the Bloc Québécois, is associated with three key variables that get at voter at­ tachment: "stability, intensity and loyalty" (8-9). Although they argue that the systems of loyalty m a y differ significantly at federal and provincial levels, even within parties with the s a m e name, the three factors still c o m e into play. Based on those criteria, polling data, and the experience of the last four elections in Q u é b e c w e hypothesize: Hi All three major Q u é b e c Provincial parties, the Parti Libéral du Q u é b e c (PLQ), the Parti Q u é b é c o i s ( P Q ) and Action Démocrati­ que du Q u é b e c ( A D Q ) will manifest a form of w e a k partisanship a m o n g significant n u m b e r s of their traditional supporters. In A m e r i c a n parlance, over the years w e expect a growing n u m b e r of indi­ vidual voters to h a v e m o v e d from strong to w e a k party identifiers and even truly de-aligned independents. This condition of partisanship has con­ tributed, and w e expect will continue to contribute, to the dramatic change in the party system in Q u é b e c . Furthermore, consistent with H i : Hi.2 We expect to see an increase in voter support for n e w but less competitive parties such as the Greens and Q u é b e c Solidaire (QS). In addition to the changing nature of partisanship, in 2007 Q u e b e c e r s were confronted with the possibility of experiencing something not seen in a h u n d r e d years, a minority government. C o u l d this well-based sense that a minority government w a s likely to result from the 2007 elections have influenced Q u é b e c voters to cast strategic votes in the h o p e of producing a majority government? There is very little evidence to support that proposi­ tion. In fact, a recent study of attitudes toward minority government and Québec Studies, Volume 47, Spring/Summer 2009

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Allan, James

Vengroff, Richard