Neck and Neck and Neck
First of all, I guess I was wrong, wrong, wrong about Tuesday's debate. To me, it looked like Charest had won and Dumont was nothing more than a hyperactive squirrel (think Jack Layton in the 2004 debates) but it seems Quebecers saw it differently or, at the very least, the overpass stunt paid some dividends.
So this leaves the election outcome a complete crapshot. Any of the three parties could conceivably form what will almost certainly be Quebec's first minority government in over a century.
And that is what makes today's proclamation by Andre Boisclair so interesting:
The Parti Québécois would want to hold a referendum on sovereignty even if it forms only a minority government, leader André Boisclair said Friday.
Obviously, Boisclair would never get a referendum law passed in a minority government so he's just blowing smoke up the electorate's ass. But if he maintains that his raison d'être of forming government is to hold another referendum, it becomes hard to see how Mario Dumont could justify proping up a Boisclair government. If you don't believe in the first priority of the government, how can you say you have confidence in them? Especially after the two bickered to no end on Tuesday and have very little common ground anywhere in their platforms.
What I'm getting at is, let's suppose, the numbers above hold and we get a seat breakdown similar to what Hill & Knowlton predicts (two bad assumptions to make, but, whatever):
In such a situation, it seems to me that Jean Charest could make a very strong case to stay as Premier, governing with ADQ support. He'd have won the popular vote and could promise a more stable government than Boisclair.
I'm not sure if we'd see a formal coalition, but I do think that if the ADQ does win the most seats, an ADQ/PLQ formal coalition wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility. Mostly because Dumont doesn't have the talent to make a full Cabinet himself but also because he could probably find common ground with Charest on a wide range of issues.
So will it be Peterson/Rae deux? Peut-être....