Andre Perrella's blog

Mentors and Giants of (Canadian) Political Science: An Interview with André Blais

Leave it to renown elections researcher Dr. André Blais to find value in the study of something like the papal election. As the Canada Research Chair in Electoral Studies, Dr. Blais is at the centre of a number of innovative projects that ask some very key questions about democratic governance, and the election of the next pope is not immune to such scrutiny, although the context of a papal election is used to determine the effect of different vote procedures (see voteforpope.net).

Quebec Sovereignty: Coming Soon?

Quebec’s general election next week is likely to return the Parti Québécois. The last time the PQ moved from opposition to government, they launched a referendum that nearly broke the country apart. Some are comforted by the fact that the Oui forces in 1995 were led by the charismatic Lucien Bouchard, and if he couldn’t do it, then there is nothing to worry about the far less magnetic Pauline Marois, right? Let’s discuss what might be a very real possibility of Quebec separating from Canada.

Swing Voters in Ontario Elections

Outcomes of the September 6 byelections in Ontario focus a great deal of attention on the "swing voter," that is, the voter with loose partisan ties who can potentially be swayed from one party to another. This is the prize all three parties pursue, especially in Kitchener-Waterloo where there is nothing to suggest one candidate has a comfortable and wide lead. It's anybody's game, hence the race to sway the swing voter.

On this theme, I raise four questions, and locate answers based on a preliminary analysis of some data in our collection.

Quebec Leaders’ Debates: Game Changer?

Let’s turn our attention to the Quebec election. My comment is about Sunday's debate and its possible effects on the electorate. Here is the summary: The effect is probably marginal, and it is at the margins where one is likely to see most effects. The big “winner,” should there be a need to declare one, is the one leader least likely to emerge as the premier of that province in the Sept. 4 election.

Polls about National Unity

Opinion polls about national unity issues are often troublesome. Here is one by Abacus that suggests that while a slim majority of non-Quebecers want Quebec to remain in Canada, a quarter would vote to kick out the province. The basis for either lukewarm support for Quebec or hard-edged opposition to the province stems from a perception of extra-favourable treatment, as if Quebec were a spoiled child of the Canadian family.