Quebec 2008: Results
The PLQ won the election with a narrower than expected victory, despite winning a majority of the 125 seats.
Liberal 42.05% (+8.97%) winning 66 seats (+18)
PQ 35.15% (+6.80%) winning 51 seats (+15)
ADQ 16.35% (-14.49%) winning 7 seats (-34)
QS 3.64% (+0.15%) winning 1 seat (+1)
PVQ 2.18% (-1.67%)
The PLQ was expected by many to win a majority with over 70 seats, giving the PLQ a comfortable majority. The PQ did better than expected, and did even better than in 2003. The current insanity in Ottawa and Quebec-bashing on the part of Steve Harper might have turned voters to the PQ. Alternatively, it could be that the polls underestimated the PQ and overestimated the PLQ (and the effect of the English vote on poll numbers and seats). The PLQ’s 7% margin of victory is about the lowest MoV the PLQ can expect to get a majority with. Any tie is a PQ win (see 1998). Geographically, the PQ recovered from its quasi-wipeout on the north shore of Montreal (a traditional Pequiste stronghold that switched massively to the ADQ in 2007) and returns to quasi-unopposed dominance in the region. In the Laurentides and Lanaudiere regions, they also recovered. In the Lanaudiere riding of L’Assomption, former Green Party leader Scott McKay (half-Anglo, half-Franco) was elected for the PQ defeating the ADQ incumbent. The party also recovered on the populated south shore, where the ADQ had made inroads in 2007. However, it lost seats, sometimes gained in 2007, to the the Liberals in Abitibi, Gaspesie, and Saguenay. The Liberals held their Montreal-Laval strongholds (with scores back into the 70-80% range) and their other strong areas over the province.
The ADQ collapsed, but held up slightly better than polls had predicted (most polls agreed on 12-15% for the ADQ in the final days) and its seat count didn’t go down into humiliating sub-5 territory and seven incumbents resisted. Apart from Mario Dumont easily holding his Riviere-du-Loup stronghold in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and a lone (narrow) holdout in Shefford (Eastern Townships), all 5 others came from the conservative areas surrounding Quebec City and the Chaudiere-Appalaches region. Many ADQ incumbents finished third in their ridings, such as House Leader Sebastien Proulx in Trois-Rivieres (back and forth between PQ and PLQ all night). On a side note, the two late floor crossers from ADQ to Liberal were defeated by PQ candidates in their respective ridings of Champlain and Iberville.
The hard-left nationalist QS won its first ever seat in the Montreal bohemian riding of Mercier, where its co-leader Amir Khadir defeated PQ incumbent Daniel Turp. The other co-leader Francoise David narrowly lost in neighboring Gouin. Despite other strong results in central Montreal (downtown, Hochelaga-Maisoneuve, the gay quarter, Outremont) and a select urban areas (Hull, the inner Quebec City riding of Taschereau) the party did badly (and lost votes, in many cases) in rural areas, even in its other strong area, Abitibi. It seems like the myth that QS wants to dispell that it’s a “party of the Plateau” has some truth to it. If I remember correctly, this is the first time since the CCF won Rouyn-Noranda (in a very divided election, mind you) in 1944 that a hard left party wins seats. The Greens ran only 80 candidates, against 108 in 2007. They lost votes, as many of the potential Greenie-type voters stayed home or turned to the PQ or other parties.
On the note of the turnout, it was down from 71% in 2007 to 57%. This is the lowest turnout since atleast 1927, but there were around a dozen elections by acclamations then, so if they held actual elections in those seats then, the 1927 turnout would have been easily higher than 2008.