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May 2, 2006
Tories Outpolling Separatists In Quebec

In a rather stunning political development, the Conservative Party has pulled ahead of Bloc Quebecois, according to a poll taken by La Presse. The reversal of years of decline in Tory fortunes comes as a shock to the separatists, who had almost reached majority support just a few months ago (via Newsbeat1):

The Conservatives are rapidly gaining support in Quebec and are now more popular than the province's separatist party, according to a new poll published on Tuesday.

The CROP poll for La Presse put the Conservatives at 34 percent in Quebec, up from the 25 percent the party won during the January 23 election. The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which a few months ago was flirting with 50 percent backing, dropped to 31 percent from 42 percent on January 23.

The Conservatives, led by Stephen Harper, unexpectedly took 10 of Quebec's 75 seats in the election, helping them win a fragile minority federal government and thereby ending 12 years of Liberal rule.

Four months ago, the Tories won a narrower mandate than initially predicted, and some analysts thought that Stephen Harper had taken the Conservatives to the limit of its support. The Liberals beat predictions of a meltdown in January and thought that a leadership change would invigorate the disgraced party and put a quick end to the Tory test drive.

Instead, Harper has surprised even his own supporters by building broad-based support for the Conservatives. He has expanded the party's reach into the urban power base of the Grits, making inroads with younger voters and minorities with his moderate approach to governing. Now in Quebec, Harper may have achieved his greatest achievement yet, displacing both BQ and the Liberals, roaring from a distant third in the restive province a year ago to the top of the polls. Once the dominant party in Quebec, the Liberals only poll a paltry 15%, less than half of the Tories or BQ.

These results almost guarantee a quick election in the near future. Canadians have discovered that the Liberal line on Harper and his supposedly "secret agenda" turned out to be nothing but an empty scare tactic by Paul Martin and others trying desperately to cling to power. They now reap the harvest of their dishonesty in this and many other issues, and if Harper gets his election, the Canadians may well turn their Tory test drive into a majority Conservative government.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 2, 2006 9:47 PM

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