Débat des chefs: premières réactions


Ipsos is first out of the gates with the insta-poll. Winner? Dion, by a wide margin. But Jack gets most “visually attractive”…

French Leaders Debate Audience Says Dion Clear Winner

1 in 5 (20%) Viewers Say They Changed Their Mind

Toronto, ON — The results of a near instantaneous Ipsos Reid/CanWest News Service survey of French-speaking Canadian voters who watched Wednesday night’s French-language leaders’ debate has revealed:

The Winner…

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion emerges as the clear winner of Wednesday’s debate with 40% of Canadian voters who viewed the French language debate saying he won, compared with 24% who feel that Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe won, 16% who feel that Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper emerged victorious, 11% who feel that NDP Leader Jack Layton won, and just 1% who feel Green Leader Elizabeth May won.

Being Prime Ministerial…

Nearly four in ten (36%) found Stephane Dion (up 21 points) to be the leader who sounds and acts most like a Prime Minister, placing him ahead of Prime Minister Harper (31%, down 14 points). Gilles Duceppe was next (17%, up 4 points), followed by Jack Layton (12%, down 4 points) and Elizabeth May (1%, unchanged).

The Best Ideas and Policies…

According to 41% (up 15 points since pre-debate poll) of voters, Stephane Dion offered the best policies and ideas during the debate. In second place was Gilles Duceppe (22%, up 6 points), followed by Jack Layton (19%, down 5 points), Stephen Harper (13%, down 9 points) and Elizabeth May (1%, down 1 point).

Likeability of the Leaders…

Jack Layton scored the best in terms of likeability with 46% of viewers (down 12 points) saying that he was the most likeable and the person they’d most like to go out for a beer or coffee with. Next was Gilles Duceppe (18%, up 1 point), Stephan Dion (14%, up 5 points), Stephen Harper (10%, up 2 points) and finally Elizabeth May (9%, up 6 points).

Impressions of the Leaders…

Subtracting worsened impressions from improved impressions, opinions of Stephane Dion improved (net +56) the most as a result of the debate, while Jack Layton (net +48) also fared well. Gilles Duceppe (net +30) also had a solid performance, according to those who watched the debate, as did Elizabeth May (net +18). Opinions of Stephen Harper plummeted (net -39) among those who viewed the debate.

Improved Worsened
Stephen Harper 14% 53%
Stephane Dion 67% 11%
Jack Layton 55% 7%
Gilles Duceppe 41% 11%
Elizabeth May 42% 24%

Most Visually Attractive

One in three (33%) who viewed the debate found Jack Layton to be the most visually attractive (down 7 points), followed by Gilles Duceppe (22%, up 2 points), Stephane Dion (19%, up 13 points), Stephen Harper (15%, down 5 points), and finally Elizabeth May (5%, unchanged).

Effect of Debate on Vote…

Overall, the effect of this debate on voters’ intentions has not been insignificant. Two in ten (20%) French-speaking Canadians who watched the debate say that they have changed their mind about who to vote for on October 14 as a result of viewing the debate.

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Débat des chefs: premières réactions

  1. First post.

    Huge news. May not be all that great for Dion, but devastating for Harper.

  2. A twenty per cent shift in the second largest province and only province with 5 major parties is not significant?

  3. Virtually every study that tracks “immediate response” polls to actual results show one thing:

    the “immediate response” invariably turns out to not to follow the result.


    the media’s desperation in wanting this to be a horse race is becoming a tad obvious.

  4. Mike T., I find these poll results striking, but divide all the numbers by the — um, what’s the denominator in that division? — by the ratio between (people who watched the debate) : (all voters). Divide all the numbers by four, would be my rough guess,

  5. You mean to tell me the guy who literally put his life on the line continually arguing for Canada in hostile arenas (French media, university “conférences”, talk shows, etc.) while Harper was sulking in Calgary, the guy who argued Bouchard, Landry, Turp, & all comers into the ground while Harper was proposing firewalls, the guy who’s written tons of books and articles and speeches by his own hand while Harper was repeating the prefab Bush party line via Howard, the guy who won more arguments in cabinet & caucus than any other minister, the guy who won the debates in the Liberal leadership race in his shaky 2nd language against worthies like Rae & Iggy, the guy who likes nothing better than open forums and has had about a million in this campaign while Harper hasn’t had one unfiltered question from the public…you mean that guy won?

    But I thought he wasn’t a leader?
    Isn’t he some weak weedy “frog” professor?
    What’s he ever done in his life (see “Saving Canada, 1996-2003”)?

    Geez, how to explain it? In a fair fight, mano a mano, Dion wiped the floor with the rest?

    Dion great, Harper a paper tiger?

    What a surprise!

    Dirty liberal ordinary citizens, I say.

    Unleash the blogbots!

  6. I’d wager that the next crop poll will show Harper up significantly.

  7. Virtually every study that tracks “immediate response” polls to actual results show one thing:

    Do you have link to one of these studies?

  8. Crop polls are monthly, Kody.

  9. I’ll take that bet, kody.

  10. I’d wager that the next crop poll will show Harper up significantly.

    Kody, the Lollipop kids want you to take up the wager on the debate liveblog before trying to change the subject.

  11. Here’s one:


    This one analysis the Carter Ford debate, and refers to a “sleeper effect” in opinion formation by various social scientists to attribute the underlying reason for the difference.

    Several studies within that study are cited.

    Of course this is just one of many.

    But forget about all that for the moment, and enjoy this evening.

    The next thirteen days are going to be very rough for the Liberals as the undecideds will almost surely break for the CPC (for a whole host of reasons) leading to a significant CPC majority.

    But you’ve got tonight.

    There’s no tomorrow.

  12. I’m glad we get this stuff, supports the TVA sampling. I like it, because it comes out immediately, before you guys get to tell me what I think, and skewer what I know I just SAW.

  13. Paul,

    CROP will publish one next week.

    As will Leger.

  14. The Washington Post on “instant polls”:

    “Seeking to find answers about how much (or little) credence we should put in such polls, The Fix sought out several of the nation’s leading survey research scholars to get their opinions.

    By and large, the experts said these insta-polls (for lack of a better word) are interesting but ultimately not predictive of any long-term trends. “They are of limited value because there’s a fair body of public opinion and communications research that shows that on many topics … the measurement of quick public opinion often differs from what we might call measured public opinions,” said Michael Traugott, a research professor at the University of Michigan.

    Andy Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, cited a survey he conducted for Newsweek immediately following the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983. “People hadn’t thought about and hadn’t been affected by the way the story was unfolding,” Kohut recalled. As a result, the poll “completely underestimated” the boost the invasion had for President Ronald Reagan, he added.

    There are several reasons why these insta-polls should not be used to draw sweeping conclusions, which, in fairness, neither they — nor the pollsters behind them — claim they do.”

  15. Well, at least Dakota’s googling.

  16. http://www.jstor.org/pss/2748296

    You are an undergrad polysci dweeb that regards plagiarism as a useful skill, and you randomly assign references because you *think* that padding your bibliography makes your 10 page essay better, right?

    Did you even *read* the article?

    The point was that impressions of the outcome of a debate become “polluted” with media impressions.


    Do you actually enjoy these public displays of your stupidity? Or are you blissfully unaware of it?


  17. Austin,

    I have no doubt that you honestly believe that the grand plan to have meetings, and talk to economists,

    will dramatically move Canadians towards Dion.

    I suggest otherwise.

    We’ll know soon enough.

    In the meantime, I don’t believe I’ve called you, or anyone on this blog, names, or used vulgar or derogatory terms.

    That you and others here choose to subject myself, and other conservative commenters here to such,

    says far, far more about you and your purported “progressive” tolerance, than anything I could hope to say myself.

    Thank you.

  18. And we’ve reached stage five of ConBot propaganda…whining. Kody even inserted the tried and true “progressive tolerance” trope.

  19. Don’t worry Kody, you’ve always got the sweater. Yes, trust the sweater.

  20. Too bad on this blog that we can not see ALL the posts of a blogger. If we could we could detect a shill for say the CONs

    PS. I find the result of this “insta-poll” fascinating, no matter whether it will “stand” or not.

    And finally as an aside I too would not really wanna have a beer with Harper! I’d be worried about getting stuck with the edntire tab, as I doubt that Harper would EVER belly up to the bar!!!

  21. A poll like this is surprising, since the Maclean’s group and most other commentators have not pointed to any specific gaffes or mistakes during the debate.

    So, once again, it will be interesting to see how many of these 53% who have a more unfavourable view of Harper had no intention of voting for him anyway. Some may simply be reiterating their dislike.

    This should be revealed by the polls eventually.

    kody: the word “progressive” is synonymous with condescending, patronizing, superior.

  22. A better critique would be to say crosstabs crosstabs crosstabs*. However, whether this poll is valid or not it is valid because it (and another I saw in La Presse) will set the tone of the coverage, at least in Quebec, where Dion wins is the story.

    Harper has nobody to blame for that than himself – while his performance was fine given the circumstances, his entire campaign has been about presenting himself as a strong leader and Dion as a mouse. The Liberals have accelerated that by largely keeping Dion out of the limelight.

    Ekos did a poll on expectations, in Quebec it looked like this:
    Who will do best in the debates?
    Harper: 20%
    Layton: 27%
    Duceppe: 29%
    May: 2%
    Dion: 7%

    By that token Layton was the biggest loser, Dion the biggest winner. Harper and Duceppe were moderate losers.

    *Also, the “who won”/”who is the most ___” questions are more valid than the improved/worsened ones. If the 67% of Quebec voters that will never vote for Harper decided their opinion of him worsened, it doesn’t affect his chances – a question like that is likely to make Harper look bad, but does not reflect how the election will play out since there is a 4-way vote split on the left. Of real concern should be those people who previously called Harper prime ministerial and who thought he had the best ideas who have since changed their minds.

    Harper should think twice before starting the English debate by using the 20 minutes on the economy he requested to say “everything is fine”. He needs ideas that will make Dion’s silly “if elected I will have meetings” look bad by comparison.

  23. As someone who is regularly labelled a con-bot, I have to give the debate to Dion as well. In all seriousness, he should really answer every question in french and have it translated.

    The most disappointing part for me was watching the federalists give Gilles Duceppe a free pass on the huge elephant in the room…..the raison d’etre of his party: to tear the country apart. Maybe its just the koolaid talking but it sounded like Harper was the only one taking Duceppe to task, albeit not as strong as I would like. Am I the only one who think that all federalists should be hammering Duceppe?

  24. I agree it would be nice to see, Brian, but it can’t happen with the political climate we have in Quebec right now. Even Dion’s saying “we Canadians” a couple of times was pushing the limit. Oh for the days of Trudeau.

  25. The left in this country have proved time and time again that they would much rather have sepratists as the official opposition then having conservatives as the government.

  26. “The left in this country have proved time and time again that they would much rather have sepratists as the official opposition then having conservatives as the government…”

    and have the separatists as cabiner ministers.

    Have we forgotten the Mulroney years already? Have you forgotten where the Bloc came from?

    Yeah, I’d rather have separatists in opposition than in power. Hardly see how that makes me a bad Canadian.

  27. Brian, I think it’s better to *not* hammer Duceppe, because it shows he’s not a credible-enough threat to deal with.

  28. Bloc came mainly from the PC, but there was a few libs as well. BTW listening to the debates and to the commentary from CBC and CTV, pretty much all of Quebec is seperatist in one form or another.

    But once again only Liberal values are Canadian values.

  29. “Bloc came mainly from the PC, but there was a few libs as well.”

    The Liberals aren’t completely blameless here either… Hi Jean Lapierre!… but that being said, which party do you think is doing more to court separatist voters – the Liberals or the Conservatives?

    (Not being a supporter in either party, I don’t really have a dog in this fight)

  30. Muldoon had the Parti quebecois organizing for him in Quebec when he was running. There is NO comparison.

  31. Disclosure: I’m not a francophone, so it is a bit harder to gauge who won the debate last night, when you only have the translated answers & comments, and you miss the subtle inflections of language, etc.

    Having said that, I believe Dion did well, but I would have to say that Duceppe won that debate. He was never really touched, and never really on the back foot, ever. I would rack up the “Dion wins debate” sentiment to the fact that he beat the pre-debate expectations more than any other (well, I expected him to do well here – it is his mother tongue, after all – but the overall public sentiment was down on him going into these).

    Harper was trying his best not to lose it on anyone there … it must’ve been hard (and for you too, Coyne) for him to have to listen to the likes of Layton, Duceppe and May expound on how to properly manage the economy, given their shared idiotic ideas and general naivete in that department. Listening to them was like reading all those idealistic “What I would do as PM” essays sent in by students still without a sense of the real world. No doubt Harper could’ve destroyed every fanciful economic argument advanced by the opposition leaders, but then he’d come off as a know-it-all.

    May was the anti-Harper. It was funny seeing her squirm trying to say some nice things about Harper.

    The English debate tonight is the big one. There will, I suspect, be zingers that were purposely saved for tonight’s bigger audience.

    p.s. the First-30-days plan is just so much garbage. Not as bad as Martin’s “we’ll take out the Notwithstanding clause, but it’s up there.

  32. “No doubt Harper could’ve destroyed every fanciful economic argument advanced by the opposition leaders, but then he’d come off as a know-it-all.”

    Yeah, his whole tax cuts/trickle down/deregulate mantra is really knocking ’em dead in the land o’ Friedman these days.

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