The CBC Pollcast, hosted by CBC poll analyst and ThreeHundredEight.com founder Éric Grenier, explores the world of electoral politics and political polls.


The Parti Québécois last finished a leadership race in May, 2015. The next one, brought about by the sudden resignation of Pierre Karl Péladeau last month, will come to a close in October. Will the man who finished second last year come out on top this year?

Alexandre Cloutier, MNA for the riding of Lac-Saint-Jean, took 29 per cent of the vote in his losing leadership bid in 2015. This time, he is widely seen as the campaign's front runner. A poll published last week by Léger gave him 37 per cent support among PQ voters, more than double the support of his nearest rival. About a dozen caucus members have endorsed him.

But the race is far from over and the debates over what strategy the Parti Québécois should adopt on the question of the next referendum still rage. 

Cloutier shares a similar position with Véronique Hivon, MNA for the riding of Joliette, in waiting for "winning conditions" before launching another referendum campaign on Quebec's independence.

Other contestants for the PQ's leadership have different takes. Jean-François Lisée, MNA for Rosemont, thinks a referendum should not be held in a first mandate should the party form government. Martine Ouellet, the MNA for Vachon who took 13 per cent of the vote as a leadership contestant last year, thinks the party should hold a referendum as soon as possible.

Polls suggest support for sovereignty is still low and that there is little enthusiasm for another referendum in the short term. But the uncertainty over whether the party would hold a referendum if re-elected helped doom the PQ's campaign in 2014. Will the PQ's membership endorse Cloutier or Hivon's less well-defined position, or opt for the clarity offered by Lisée or Ouellet?

Joining host Éric Grenier to discuss the race and Léger's latest poll numbers is Christian Bourque, executive vice-president at Léger.

Listen to the full discussion above — or subscribe to the CBC Pollcast and listen to past episodes.

Follow Éric Grenier and Christian Bourque on Twitter.


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