MONTREAL — A new survey reveals a paradox among Quebecers, who recently put separatists back in power: Most think separatism is a dead issue.
The striking numbers come from a CROP poll released this week by Montreal think-tank Federal Idea.
The survey suggests sovereignty is old news in la belle province and that most Quebecers are proud to be Canadian.
A full 79% of the 1,000 Quebecers surveyed last month said they were "very or somewhat proud" of being Canadian.
Just 8% thought the PQ was voted in to push for sovereignty and 83% saw Quebec's membership in Canada as an advantage in turbulent economic times.
The survey also indicated support for sovereignty had dropped to 32% in October from 34% a year earlier. That's about eight points lower than the baseline level of support for separation that had been the norm in the province for decades.
Analysts have said for some time that for French Quebecers, a vote for the PQ is not necessarily a vote for separation.
"Obviously, the answers that we got in the poll go against what the Parti Quebecois are saying," Jocelyn Coulon, head of Federal Idea, told QMI Agency Thursday.
But he noted that for many Quebecers, Canadian pride won't manifest itself as it would in the rest of Canada.
"Perhaps some Quebecers don't like to see the Queen or the (Canadian) flag, but that doesn't mean they want to separate."
A second poll, released exclusively to QMI Agency by the Association for Canadian Studies, indicates a growing number of Quebecers are feeling Canadian these days.
The 13-year tracking poll said 70% of Quebecers felt "very attached" or "somewhat attached" to the country. Those are the highest numbers since 2003.
Jack Jedwab, director of the Montreal think-tank, notes that the positive vibes towards Canada jumped even after the PQ won the election on Sept. 4.
He suggests Marois' PQ might be alienating some of the same French voters they're trying to seduce.
"She's contributing to more Quebecers feeling better about Canada, in an ironic and a very bizarre kind of way."