It’s getting easier to understand why the Parti Quebecois has been shooting itself in the foot over the last few days.
They started off the campaign thinking they were heading for an easy majority.
Now they might be fighting for a minority.
For francophone voters this election has clearly become a fight between Pauline Marois and Francois Legault.
This morning’s CROP poll in LaPresse shows the the Coalition Avenir Quebec is rapidly gaining gound among francophone voters: (PQ 36 per cent, CAQ 30 per cent).
This means in the second half of the campaign, the CAQ has gained four points among francophone voters and the PQ has lost three. CROP pollster Youri Rivest says CAQ support has now reached the zone where it can win a substantial number of ridings.
And the trend lines are still moving in the CAQs favor.
Quebecers see François Legault as the candidate who best represents change (43-19), is more competent than Marois in economic matters (26-16), and is more honest (22-17.)
In what pollsters call attitudinals, Jean Charest leads in only one category.
He is seen as most competent in economic matters.
Charest’s weakness among francophone voters has even lead him to make a move which could hurt him among anglophone voters and committed federalists.
Charest says he would consider asking Ottawa to apply the rules of Bill 101 to federally chartered institutions like banks, post offices, and federal civil servants in Quebec.
That kind of improvisation usually means trouble.
And who said a summer election would be boring?