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The Conservatives are rapidly gaining support in Quebec and are now more popular than the province's separatist party, according to a new poll published on Tuesday.
The CROP poll for La Presse put the Conservatives at 34 percent in Quebec, up from the 25 percent the party won during the January 23 election. The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which a few months ago was flirting with 50 percent backing, dropped to 31 percent from 42 percent on January 23.
"Thanks to his attitude, his gestures and his speeches, Mr Harper has clearly succeeded in getting closer to Quebec since the January 23 election," CROP's Claude Gauthier told La Presse.
In retrospect, it looks as though the Bloc's rise in Quebec really was just a temporary protest vote against Liberal corruption, and that there were federalist voters waiting for someone to offer a credible alternative, or for the Liberals to expiate their guilt, whichever came first.
Granted, this is only one poll and the Tories are still enjoying a honeymoon. But it does show that people in Quebec are getting tired of the sterile debate between separatism and centralizing federalism.
Winning 40 seats in Quebec next time is no longer an unrealistic prospect, and with it, majority government.
Would you have believed it possible a year ago?