How to explain the popularity of Legault?

How to explain the popularity of Legault?

Beyond a slight decline, the popularity of François Legault is holding up. Since coming to power on 1er October 2018, its political terrain continues to expand.

A Léger / Le Journal poll published yesterday confirms this again. Despite the serious setbacks this spring, even his handling of the pandemic earned him a score of 6.9. Imperfect, it nevertheless exceeds that of Justin Trudeau, noted at 5.8.

The CAQ won 49% of the voting intentions, including 57% of Francophones. This is 11.5 points more than in the 2018 poll. Far from waning, the honeymoon is growing.

Liberals, PQ and solidarity are fighting over the remaining crumbs. The arrival of two new chefs – Dominique Anglade at the PLQ and Paul St-Pierre Plamondon at the PQ – has not changed anything.

For the opposition parties, the pandemic is also creating a cruel eclipse effect. Since mid-March, Prime Minister Legault has been the only captain on board the health crisis.


How to explain the “phenomenon” François Legault? Crises tend to bind populations to their leaders. It’s certain. But there is more to it.

By creating the CAQ, the ex-PQ minister-sovereignist-pressed, knew how to “reinvent himself” as a more traditional nationalist. In doing so, two decades after the last referendum, he aligned himself with the majority of voters.

According to the poll, only 33% of francophones would vote for sovereignty. Even if a referendum were held by the very popular Legault government, their Yes needle would barely rise to 36%.

Ditto for his “pragmatism” on the identity front. In the controversial matter of “secularism”, with his law 21, Mr. Legault was able to place himself somewhere between the more intransigent positions of the PQ and the blissful inaction of the liberals.

His promise to strengthen Bill 101 in 2021 will surely follow the same process. The year 2020 and much of 2021, however, belongs to COVID-19.

Achilles’ heel

His handling of the crisis enjoys a high approval rating. It is in the detail that the flaws are pointed out. Only half of the respondents approve of its management in schools (memo to its Minister of Education).

Above all, 60% disapprove of his management of the crisis in CHSLDs and retirement homes. The result of an abnormally murderous first wave in Quebec during which thousands of women and men died alone and in conditions unworthy of an advanced society.

The Prime Minister’s Achilles heel is there. By the 2022 election, the only way he can mitigate the impact will be to turn the situation around much more sharply. Quebec’s aging population will demand it.

The poll confirms this. To know what the Legault government’s priorities should be for 2021, the first three stand out strongly: management of the health network, management of the pandemic and improvement of the living conditions of seniors.

That is clear. In Quebec, the pandemic exposed a seriously broken health and social services system. The electorate expects the government to fix it.

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