With the Quebec campaign trail nearly a month old, a few topics have dominated the conversation so far.
The big issues that drove Charest to call the election — corruption and tuition — are fighting for time with mainstays like the economy, environment and health care. But, as always, sovereignty casts a long shadow over the debate in the Belle Province.
In fact, according to twitter, sovereignty is the biggest issue so far this election. As the graph below shows, sovereignty had a 27 per cent share of voice as of Wednesday. The next biggest topic so far has been corruption, with a 22 per cent share of voice.
Despite the student protests dominating much of the news cycle earlier in the year, other topics have usurped the tuition issue during the campaign. Education was the third most popular issue during the campaign and only beat healthcare by one percentage point.
Interestingly, the sovereignty issue didn’t get much play until almost two thirds of the way through the month. As you can see in the timeline below, corruption and health care were the biggest topics for the first two weeks of the campaign.
The health care debate mostly centred on Francois Legault, spiking when he proposed a health services tax and then again when Pauline Marois called his plan a bluff. The corruption issue spiked early in the month, as Jacques Duchesne was introduced as a CAQ candidate, and the PQ released a list of what they claimed were corrupt Liberal deals.
It wasn’t until the televised debate that sovereignty really started to pick up steam. It was the most-discussed of the major topics on August 20, and remained so until the August 27.
Finally, with students returning to school for their delayed semesters this past week, education and tuition bubbled back up the the surface.
Topic share of voice (in per cent)
Tweets by topic over time (Aug. 1 to 29)