How Quebec Voted: A Provincial “Exit Poll”.

Supporters of the governing CAQ say leader François Legault was their primary motivator for casting a ballot.

Vancouver, BC [October 17, 2022] – By the mid-way point of the campaign, it became clear that the provincial election in Quebec would become a race for second place, both in terms of voting percentages and seats.

The governing Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) ultimately garnered 41% of all cast ballots, in tune with the final survey published by Research Co. Premier François Legault, who held the upper hand on approval and on the “Best Premier” question, now leads a caucus of 90 members in the National Assembly—a 14-seat improvement from his first election victory in 2018.

When it comes to the main motivators of support, our “Exit Poll” shows that the Quebec electorate was equally invested in the party’s leader (35%) and the party’s ideas and policies (34%). Significantly fewer voters were primarily concerned about a desire for stability (15%), a desire for change (9%), the party’s candidate in the riding (8%) or disgust with other contending candidates (6%).

For the governing CAQ, building the campaign around the personality of the current head of government paid off handsomely. The party’s leader was the main motivator for 43% of CAQ voters. A look at what we found in Ontario earlier this year shows the command that Legault has on his party’s base. Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who also earned a majority mandate, was seen as the primary motivator for 31% of Progressive Conservative voters, 12 points below what we see in Quebec.

The level of rapport with leaders is significantly lower among the other four parties. More than a third of Parti Québécois (PQ) voters (36%) were motivated by leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. The proportions on this indicator drop to 27% for Dominique Anglade among Liberal Party of Quebec voters, 26% for Éric Duhaime among Conservative Party of Quebec voters, and just 20% for co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois among Québec solidaire voters.

In Quebec, few voters looked at the candidate in their riding as a key factor in their decision, with numbers ranging from a high of 13% for Liberal and PQ voters to a low of 6% among those who cast ballots for CAQ candidates. Desire for change, an item that is always crucial for opposition parties, stands at 9% as a main motivator across the province, rising to 20% among Québec solidaire voters.

Québec solidaire is also unique when we measure how many Quebecers chose who to support based primarily on a party’s ideas and policies, with a total score of 48%. All other parties have lower scores (Liberals 39%, Conservatives 38%, PQ 36% and CAQ 28%).

On the “strategic vote” question, Quebecers are evenly split. Almost half (49%) admit to having voted for the candidate in their riding who had the best chance of defeating a party they disliked, even if the candidate they voted for was not their first preference. Supporters of the Liberals (61%) and the Conservatives (53%) were more likely to behave this way.

Age is a key aspect behind the allure of “strategic voting”. In Quebec, 62% of voters aged 18-to-34 say they voted strategically, compared to 47% among those aged 35-to-54 and 37% among those aged 55 and over. These results are very similar to what we found when we asked this question in Ontario. In Eastern Canada, the younger the voter, the more likely he or she is to look at outside information before casting a ballot. Those aged 55 and over are significantly more likely to simply go with their first choice.

Finally, we asked voters in Quebec a question about their nationality. Just over half (52%) say they consider themselves “Quebecers first, Canadians second.” This is a significantly higher level of provincial identification than what we found in August when we asked representative samples of Albertans (28%) and British Columbians (22%).

When these results are analyzed by party support, majorities of those who cast ballots for the Liberals (82%) and the Conservatives (59%) identify as Canadian. In contrast, supporters of Québec solidaire (52%), the CAQ (60%) and the PQ (86%) are more likely to say they are Quebecers first.

Find our data tables here. 

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted on October 3 and October 4, 2022, among 500 Quebec adults who voted in the 2022 provincial election. The margin of error — which measures sample variability — is +/- 4.4 percentage points for the sample of decided voters, nineteen times out of twenty.