A new poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) shared with MTL Blog shows that while people are generally more optimistic about the state of the pandemic in Quebec, there's a divide in attitudes between francophones and non-francophones.
The poll, which included input from 1,532 Canadians between February 25 and 27, captured a "spike in optimism in Eastern Canada and especially in Quebec," according to ACS President Jack Jedwab.
How did attitudes about the pandemic change in Canada?
"With worries about the vaccine rollout and reduced, but sustained case levels" in early February, the ACS says the "the level of concern about the impact of the virus was quite high."
At that time, "the vast majority of Canadians surveyed [maintained] that we were in the worst period of the crisis or that the worst was yet to come."
However, as the month went on and more doses went out, pollsters noted that this concern began to wane.
In Quebec, there was "a 15 point jump in the percentage saying that the worst of the crisis was behind us," the ACS says.
The latest poll found that Quebecers were the "most likely" to hold an optimistic view, while British Columbians and Ontarians were the "least likely."
38% of Quebecers polled believe that "the worst of the crisis is behind us."
30%, however, answered that they believed "we are in the worst period" right now.
What was the divide between francophones and non-francophones?
While 41.9% of francophone respondents said they believed the worst is behind us, only 24.1% of non-francophones responded the same way.
36.1% of non-francophones thought "we are in the worst period of the crisis now" and 27.7% believed "the worst of the crisis is yet to come."
That's compared to 27.8% and 20.2% of francophones, respectively.
What does the future hold for Quebec?
Fear of another case spike led the Quebec government to hold off on moving the regions around Montreal into the orange zone, even as restaurants and gyms are set to open everywhere else in the province.
Jedwad questioned whether this warning will damper Quebecers' optimism.
"Time will tell how the emotional roller coaster with its accompanying highs and lows about the future will evolve," he said.
"But at this juncture clear public messaging from elected officials and public health experts is as critical as ever."