Citizenship Minister Bernard Drainville wants Quebecers to look at a poll his department commissioned to justify a Charter of Quebec values to be tabled in the fall.

But the poll most Quebecers will notice is the latest CROP survey in Thursday's La Presse.

On the provincial side, it places support for Phillippe Couillard's Liberals at 38 per cent. That's 14 points ahead of the Parti Québécois which is down to 24 per cent, only two points ahead of the Coalition Avenir Québec which is polling at 22 per cent.

Quebec Solidaire is at 10 per cent and Option Nationale up from three per cent to five per cent.

Francophone Quebecers are now almost evenly split between the PQ (29 per cent), the Liberals (27 per cent) and the CAQ (26 per cent). 

The Liberals are way ahead on the island of Montreal: PLQ (53 per cent), PQ (17 per cent), CAQ (10 per cent). 

The Liberals are also eight points ahead in the suburbs north and south of Montreal: PLQ (36 per cent), PQ (28 per cent), CAQ (26 per cent).

In the Quebec City area, the PQ is polling in third place (27 per cent) behind the CAQ (28 per cent) and the Liberals (30 per cent). 

The PQ is also in third place in the rest of the province: PLQ stands at 31 per cent, the CAQ at 26 per cent and the PQ at 25 per cent.

Youri Rivest, the vice-president of CROP, says the situation is very worrisome for the PQ and Premier Pauline Marois. Attitudes towards the PQ are setting in and will be very difficult to change.

"Madame Marois will need to adopt a new tone, a new discourse, shuffle her cabinet. The situation calls for a big break with what has been done so far," Rivest told La Presse.  

Identity Politics

But instead of taking Rivest's advice, the PQ seems determined to continue down the path of identity politics.

The poll Citizenship Minister Bernard Draiville released yesterday will allow PQ MNAs to push for a Charter of Quebec values during the summer months. 

The goal seems to be to rekindle the same passion sparked by the now defunct Action Démocratique du Québec which mounted an attack on reasonable accommodations, back in 2007.

Those attacks allowed the ADQ under then Leader Mario Dumont to overtake the PQ in that election and become the official opposition.

Since then, the PQ has vowed never to be outflanked on issues related to identity. 

But Le Devoir columnist Michel David warns the PQ about the danger of over-estimating the willingness of Quebecers to focus on identity issues.

For example, he points out that the poll commissioned by Drainville's ministry suggests that 48 per cent of francophones agree that all religious symbols should be banned in the public service.

On the other hand, a majority of francophone Quebecers also agree that wearing a religious symbol does not compromise the neutrality of the state and does not challenge their own religious beliefs.

David says the PQ mishandled Bill 14 and the language debate and now it can’t afford another setback over identity issues.