Review: A Late Campaign Swing or a Failure of the Polls? The Case of the 1998 Quebec Election *CLAIRE DURAND is associate professor in sociology and ANDRÉ BLAIS is full professor in political science, both at the University of Montreal. SÉBASTIEN VACHON is research assistant at the same university. We are grateful to the pollsters, Createc and Crop, who provided the data for this article, and to the Parti Québécois and the Quebec Liberal Party, who helped us gather data on collective households. We would also like to thank Michael Smith and the reviewers for their useful and precise comments on an earlier draft of this article. The FCAR (Fonds concerté d'aide à la recherche) and the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) contributed financially to this project.
AbstractTHE POLLSâREVIEW A LATE CAMPAIGN SWING OR A FAILURE OF THE POLLS? THE CASE OF THE 1998 QUEBEC ELECTION CLAIRE DURAND Â´ ANDRE BLAIS Â´ SEBASTIEN VACHON Public polls conducted during the campaign preceding the general election held on November 30, 1998, in Quebec, Canada, predicted an easy victory of the ruling Parti Quebecois (PQ), a center-left party dedicated to Quebec Â´ Â´ sovereignty, over the contending Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), a center-right federalist party. The past six polls gave a 5-point lead to the Parti Quebecois Â´ Â´ over the Liberal Party. Five of the polls, using random samples of approximately one thousand respondents, predicted a victory of the PQ by 5â10 percentage points, while only one poll predicted a Liberal victory. Among the 14 published surveys of the campaign, 11 indicated a PQ lead (between one and 10 points). The results of the election were quite different. The Parti Quebecois won a majority of seats but was outvoted by the Liberal Party (44 Â´ Â´ percent to 43 percent).1 The discrepancy between the polls and the vote may not appear that substantial. However, it is striking that the polls consistently erred in the same direction. They