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Is the Parti Québécois Bound to Disappear? A Study of the Current Generational Dynamics of Electoral Behaviour in Quebec

  • Valérie-Anne Mahéo (a1) and Éric Bélanger (a2)
Abstract

In Quebec, the setback of the Parti Québécois (PQ) in the last 2014 provincial election testifies of a continuous decline of the party since the 1995 referendum defeat. With now only 25 per cent of vote shares, the question arises: Is the PQ bound to disappear? This article examines the support for the PQ across different generations, and tests explanations for these varying levels of support. The results show that the attitudinal profile of millennials is particularly distinct from that of baby boomers on several dimensions, but that generation X is not so different from the boomers. We demonstrate that the decline of the PQ in 2014 was mostly concentrated among millennials, who were less inclined to see the project of sovereignty as a priority and less likely to support the incumbent PQ government's controversial proposal to adopt a Charter of Quebec Values. We conclude by examining how the results of the study can shed light on the PQ's future prospects.

Au Québec, le revers du Parti québécois (PQ) lors de la dernière élection provinciale de 2014 témoigne d'un déclin continu du parti depuis la défaite du référendum de 1995. Avec maintenant seulement 25% des voix, la question se pose: le PQ est-il voué à disparaître? Cet article examine le soutien au Parti québécois parmi les différentes générations et teste différentes explications pour ces niveaux de soutien. Les résultats montrent que le profil attitudinal des milléniaux est particulièrement différent de celui des baby boomers sur plusieurs dimensions, et que la génération X n'est pas si différente des boomers. Nous démontrons que le déclin du PQ en 2014 était principalement concentré dans la génération des milléniaux, qui était moins encline à considérer le projet de souveraineté comme une priorité et qui était aussi moins susceptible d'appuyer la proposition controversée du gouvernement du PQ de l’époque d'adopter une Charte des valeurs québécoises. En conclusion, nous évaluons comment les résultats de l’étude peuvent nous informer sur les perspectives d'avenir du PQ.

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Corresponding author
Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal, succ. Centre-ville, C. P. 6128, Montréal (Québec) H3C 3J7, email: va.maheo@umontreal.ca
Department of Political Science, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2T7, email: eric.belanger3@mcgill.ca
Footnotes
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We thank Scott Matthews, Maurice Pinard, and the two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article. We are also grateful to the participants of the Canadian Politics section of the 2016 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association and those of the 2016 biannual conference of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship for their comments.

Footnotes
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
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