An extraordinary election? A longitudinal perspective of the Québec 2018 election


From 1970 to 2018, either the Québec Liberal Party or the Parti Québécois won the elections in Québec. The Coalition Avenir Québec ended this long period of bipartisan alternation by winning a majority of seats in the 2018 election. Using datasets that cover five elections (2007, 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2018) over a period of 11 years, we provide a unique longitudinal perspective of citizens’ vote choice calculus. More specifically, we analyse long-term factors that are known to be crucial to make sense of electoral outcomes. Do factors such as generations, sex, attitudes towards Québec sovereignty and party identification have the same weight in voters’ calculus over time? Our results show a relative stability, but also several interesting variations, especially regarding the effect of support for Québec independence. This perspective deepens our understanding of recent political developments in Québec politics.

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  1. 1.

    The authors would like to thank many people who provided comments on previous versions of this paper. Ruth Dassonneville, Éric Bélanger, André Blais, Jean-François Godbout, Benjamin Ferland, and Philippe Mongrain are among them, as well as the attendees of a conference on the Québec 2018 election in January 2019 at McGill University and at the workshop «50 ans du Parti québéois: bilan et perspectives» (organized by Éric Montigny and Pascale Dufour) in Ottawa during the SQSP 2018 annual meeting.

  2. 2.

    The closest work is the one from Lemieux (1969, ed.), but it includes four elections, uses a very different methodological approach, and studies elections going back to 1956.

  3. 3.

    As it is regularly the case with Québec elections since 1970, our data show an underestimation of support for the PLQ in 2007 and 2012. This bias in polls is widely acknowledged in the literature (Durand 2013; Pinard 2005) and not a specificity of our data. It should also be noted that the PQ was slightly overestimated in 2012, which is most likely a direct consequence of the underestimation of the PLQ during that same election.

  4. 4.

    The age range for each generation in a given election is as follows: Millennials: 19–26 in 2007, 20–27 in 2008, 24–31 in 2012, 26–33 in 2014, 30–37 in 2018; X: 27–42 in 2007, 28–43 in 2008, 32–47 in 2012, 34–49 in 2014, 38–53 in 2018; Baby Boomers: 43–61 in 2007, 44–62 in 2008, 48–66 in 2012, 50–68 in 2014, 54–72 in 2018; Silent: 62 and older in 2007, 63 and older in 2008, 67 and older in 2012, 69 and older in 2014, 73 and older in 2018.

  5. 5.

    Results stand if we separate respondents with less than high school education completed from the first category or if we use this variable as categorical.

  6. 6.

    Due to the lack of space, we present the results for dichotomic and linear variables, but our replication files are publicly accessible.

  7. 7.

    Facal (2018) could not be clearer: ‘For a long time, our political debate was focused around federalist and sovereigntists. It is not the case anymore’ (translated from French).


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Daoust, JF., Jabbour, A. An extraordinary election? A longitudinal perspective of the Québec 2018 election. Fr Polit 18, 253–272 (2020).

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  • Québec politics
  • Canadian politics
  • Elections
  • Vote choice
  • Nationalism