What would a PQ victory actually mean?

If Pauline Marois and the Parti Quebecois did form a government after Quebec goes to the polls on Sept.4, just what would that mean for the national unity issue? Would Quebecers, in voting in a party dedicated to separation be sending a signal that it approves of the whole sovereignty-association project? What about the rest of the Canada? Would it take a PQ victory as a sign that Quebecers want out of Confederation?

Ok. Lots of questions, there. And pollster Angus Reid today has some answers [pdf].

Bottom line: A PQ victory may mean absolutely nothing for the national unity file. “Few Canadians, and even fewer Quebecers, would interpret a victory by the Parti Quebecois in next month’s provincial election as consent to seek sovereignty,” the pollster says in a release out this morning.

Overall, just 29 per cent of survey respondents agree with this statement:  “A PQ victory would mean that Quebecers want to become a sovereign state.” Just 20% of Quebecers, though, agreed with that statement.

The pollster gave survey respondents a choice of agreeing with the statement above, i.e. PQ victory=desire for sovereignty, or agreeing with the following statement: “A PQ victory would mean that Quebecers want a different provincial government than the one they have now.” Across Canada, 45% chose that statement as closer to their views while 65% of Quebecers said that’s what a PQ victory would mean. 15% of Quebecers were unsure between the two (logically, you could agree with both statements) while 26% of Canadians were unsure.

Angus Reid polled 1,505 Canadians in an online survey Aug. 13-14. The pollster says the sampling variability or margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.