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A surprising poll in Quebec

Categories: Canada, Politics

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By Shelagh Kinch, Managing Director CBC Quebec

This week CBC Montreal released the results of a CBC/Ekos poll that raised more than a few eyebrows. The poll looks at Quebecers' thoughts on whether to leave the province, or stay. And it examines their opinions about the province's proposed Charter of Secular Values.

The poll produced some surprising data. Among those surveyed, 51% of anglophones, 49% of allophones and 11% of Francophones have seriously thought about leaving Quebec in the past year. Political uncertainty/sick of politics, the economy/jobs, and taxes top the list of why they are considering leaving. You can read more about it on our website.

These are important moments in Quebec politics, with lots of talk there's an election on the horizon. And some people have asked us about our motives for commissioning this poll at this time. So here's the answer.

First, we're doing due diligence by following up on past stories. Last year, our CBC/Ekos poll, Living English, was commissioned to determine how English speaking Quebecers felt about living in Quebec, 6 months into a minority Parti Quebecois government. Our current poll gauges whether things have improved or declined a year later - a year that included discussion around Bill 14, an extension of Bill 101, and the Charter of Secular Values.

Second is that this is fundamental information to have in telling the story of Quebec. It's part of our mandate to understand as clearly as possible what's happening with the English speaking community in Quebec. We are hearing increasingly through our audience and in discussions with the community that people are leaving or thinking of leaving the province.

Ignoring that would be irresponsible, but before reporting it, we wanted to test it by going beyond the anecdotes in order to get a clear picture - to find out what Quebecers are thinking.

We believe we have a responsibility to understand and reflect what our audience is experiencing. And we will be addressing more issues in the coming week that we believe also make an important contribution to the public discourse.

And, for the record, a word on methodology about the poll. The survey was conducted  by Ekos Research and is based on a telephone survey using a random sampling of 2,020 Quebec residents. While we were most interested in what the English community is experiencing, we surveyed a large number of Francophones as well. (1,007 Anglophone Quebecers and 1,013 Francophone Quebecers as defined by Statistics Canada Census data) 18 years and older. The total results of the poll have a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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