Generational and life-cycle effects on support for Quebec independence

  • Yannick DufresneEmail author
  • Charles Tessier
  • Eric Montigny
Original Article


The resurgence of separatist movements in Scotland and Catalonia illuminate the ebb and flow of such movements over time. The catalysts of separatism in post-industrial democracies are largely treated as circumstantial, but intergenerational data on attitudes towards independence might assist the development of a general theory of support for separatism. This replace draws on the case of Quebec, leveraging a half-century worth of public opinion data to investigate intergenerational shifts in attitudes towards separatism. Historical data from the Canadian Election Study (CES 1968–2011) allow us to test the relationship between attitudes towards independence among youth in Quebec and general levels of support for separatism. Coupled with this are the more than 1 million observations from the 2011 Canadian federal as well as the 2012 and 2014 Quebec provincial editions of Vote Compass. This last dataset allows us to estimate the variation in support for Quebec independence for very precise age groups defined at the year-of-birth level. The results show a clear generational cycle variation that appears correlated with specific series of historical events.


Quebec separatism Generations effects Public opinion Political socialization Canada Electoral behaviour 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yannick Dufresne
    • 1
    Email author
  • Charles Tessier
    • 2
  • Eric Montigny
    • 1
  1. 1.Université LavalQuebec CityCanada
  2. 2.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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