The Parti Québécois is entering a provincial election campaign in the lead and positioned to form a minority government, according to a new poll.
The Léger Marketing poll, released by the QMI Agency on Wednesday, shows the PQ with the support of 33-per cent of Quebeckers, including 39-per cent of francophone voters.
The governing Liberals are at 31-per cent, but with a lower score among francophone voters (24-per cent), which would hinder their ability to win enough seats to remain in power.
Running in its first election, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is in third place with the support of 21-per cent of voters, although it is tied with the Liberals in terms of support among francophones.
Quebec Premier and Liberal Leader Jean Charest is scheduled to meet with the province's lieutenant-governor and send the province to the polls around 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The election is expected to be held on Tuesday, Sept. 4, after the Labour Day long weekend.
The other parties contend that the Liberals are banking on a summer election and lower voter turnout in a desperate bid to hang on to power.
Léger Marketing pollster Jean-Marc Léger said that the election call is a risky proposition for the Liberals, but that Quebeckers are happy to be going to the polls after months of political upheaval in the province.
"Two-thirds of respondents said, 'Bravo, we want elections, we want to have our say,'" Mr. Léger told QMI Agency.
The poll shows that health care is the first priority of Quebec electors, with the fight against corruption in the construction industry and lowering taxes tied for second place.