Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Sociology

Political Ambivalence towards the Parti Quebecois and Its Electoral Consequences, 1970-2003

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Sociology

Political Ambivalence towards the Parti Quebecois and Its Electoral Consequences, 1970-2003

Article excerpt

Abstract: Political ambivalence towards the Parti Quebecois remains a basic characteristic of Quebec electoral politics, but no attention has been paid to it by analysts. Yet the notion of ambivalence is central in Zaller's new synthesis concerning the nature of mass opinions. The ambivalence towards the Parti Quebecois stems from opposite forces, that is, attraction towards it and reservations concerning its sovereignist option. While the analysis shows that those who do not reveal their vote intentions to pollsters are always a source of the underestimation of support for the Quebec Liberal Party, independently of ambivalence, the latter remains a more critical factor in many respects. First when in an election a high degree of ambivalence prevails, vote intentions for the Parti Quebecois are highly overestimated in polls, which leads vote intentions for the Liberal Party to be more underestimated than usual. Second, because of this ambivalence, the Parti Quebecois never reaps the benefits which satisfaction or dissatisfaction towards incumbents should yield, while the Liberal Party often does better than prevailing levels of satisfaction/dissatisfaction would entail. On the basis of that analysis, new solutions are proposed for the correction of systematic poll errors in Quebec elections, solutions which could be relevant in other similar instances. The possible importance of ambivalence in other electoral settings is finally mentioned.

Resume: L'ambivalence politique envers le Parti quebecois demeure une caracteristique fondamentale des phenomenes electoraux au Quebec, mais cela n'a pas retenu l'attention des analystes. Pourtant la notion d'ambivalence est fondamentale dans la nouvelle synthese proposee par Zaller en ce qui concerne la nature de l'opinion publique. L'ambivalence envers le Parti quebecois prend sa source dans des forces de directions opposees, soit l'attraction que ce parti exerce souvent et les reticences plutot constantes que son option souverainiste souleve. S'il est vrai que ceux qui ne revelent pas leur intention de vote lors d'un sondage sont toujours la source d'une sous-estimation du vote liberal, independemment de toute ambivalence, cette derniere demeure un facteur majeur a plusieurs egards. En premier lieu, lorsque lors d'une election le niveau d'ambivalence est eleve, les intentions de vote pour le Parti quebecois sont fortement surestimees dans les sondages, alors que celles pour le Parti liberal sont plus sous-estimees que d'habitude. De plus. h cause de l'ambivalence qu'il suscite, le Parti quebecois ne recueille jamais les a ppuis que la satisfaction ou l'insatisfaction a l'egard des gouvernements sortants devraient lui procurer, alors que les Liberaux font souvent mieux que ce que les niveaux de satisfaction ou d'insatisfaction impliqueraient. L'analyse nous amene a proposer de nouvelles solutions pour corriger les erreurs systematiques des sondages lors des elections quebecoises, solutions qui pourraient s'averer applicables dans d'autres cas semblables. L'importance possible de l'ambivalence ailleurs qu'au Quebec est finalement evoquee.

**********

One of the most fundamental phenomena in Quebec electoral politics during the last thirty-five years is the presence of political ambivalence which is prevailing among many voters towards the Parti Quebecois. (1) This has led to two rather exceptional consequences for party support. The first is the constant inability of the Parti Quebecois to gather the popular support which the degrees of satisfaction towards its governments or dissatisfaction towards Liberal governments would normally lead it to expect, together with the obverse and frequent ability of the Quebec Liberal Party to do better than analogous degrees of satisfaction or dissatisfaction would entail. The second is the frequent inability of the Parti Quebecois to perform as well on election day as foreseen in final campaign polls and the constant ability of the Liberals to do better. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.