Marois and the PQ entered the election with a clear majority of support and have watched it fizzeled as the campaign unfolded. Statements about holding a referendum; failure to outline a clear plan to get out of this economic mess; poor performance at the four leaders debate, where she was clearly outclassed by Francoise David of QS; contradictions one day and corrections the next, the latest being that conservative sovereignists have two parties to decide on, the Liberals and CAQ , and her politics of divisiveness and exclusion. The camera hates her and she is all "cheeks and jowls and squinty, rather Nixon-like". The CAQ is drawing the soft nationalist votes, the QS and Option Nationale (to which Parizeau donated $200.00) are chipping away at the nationalist and left-wing votes and she is left scrambling to solidify her base, forcing her to make more and more statemnets of referendum. A losing hand.
The Liberals are stale after 9 years in power and they have been tainted with scandal and corruption (sort of like the Bourassa 1970-76 and the construction industry/ Olympics , which forced Claude Ryan to write an editorial in Le Devoir asking voters to support the PQ and they did). The entire campaign has been one of trying to limit the loss. Their "lobster-in a trap" Anglo votes were threatening to leave in a bucketful and the allophones were skitterish too. Charest was always on the defensive and he, also had to ward off the challenging CAQ which with its non-threatening bilingual leader Legault and its politics of inclusion and his promise to vote "no" in any referendum held in the next 10 years, was closing quickly, taking votes away from the PQ as well as the LIberals. That trend has continued, as in his most recent statement that the debate "on bill 101 was 't easy, but it was a necessary law and we've reached a consensus, a balance, that has to be protected". This is music to all those voters tired of talks of referendum and who want an alternative, one that has a plan to deal with the economy. This is a winning formula and now Legault is going to the seat-rich Quebec City region where he is trying to win 12 of those 18 seats.
The two left-wing sovereignists parties have made an impression, especially Francoise David who may win her seat of Gouin, while both are expected to take votes away from the PQ. This is crucial, because many races will be close and a few votes here and there may well be the difference. Turnout is always important.
Charest needs to hold the non-francophone votes; Marois has to limit the draining of nationalist/ sovereignists and Legault need one more calming week, without mistakes.