The world is my dial group: Debate reaction from viewers while it was happening (very cool)


From an ambitious group of social-media programmers in Quebec, this chart logs positive or negative reaction to every instant of tonight’s debate, as reported over the internet while the debate was going on, by viewers. This is, essentially, a massive-sample Frank Luntz-style dial group. (Self-selecting, of course, and perhaps highly so — while now available to anyone with a net connection and any type of hardware, the Quebec group’s interface was originally designed for iPhone owners, who tend to be rich-gala types).

So, with that significant demographic caveat in mind, here’s what the chart shows. Run your cursor over the field marked “parti conservateur” along the bottom. You see that almost every time Stephen Harper opened his mouth, reaction turned sharply negative. And almost every time Stéphane Dion opens his mouth, reaction turns broadly positive. (Duceppe does better than Dion; Layton and May get mixed but, on balance, positive reactions.)


The world is my dial group: Debate reaction from viewers while it was happening (very cool)

  1. Self selective,

    ya think?

    I know the crowd that detests every time Harper opens his mouth,

    many populate this blog.


    We’ll see in thirteen days.

  2. *whistles like a bomb all the way down*


    There goes what remained of hope for the majority.

  3. >>I know the crowd that detests every time Harper opens his mouth, many populate this blog.

    wake up to reality, cause we are not Harper’s supportive Alberta rednecks. I know these days that in Quebec more past voters have become more bitter against Harper since the last election too.

  4. Ah poor Harper he is NOT in his own little BUBBLE Controlled crowd and strictly on scripts…
    welcome to the real world you are a failed PM.

  5. The page works better with firefox/mozilla. On internet explorer the interactive elements don’t line up properly.

    I thought Harper might have scored some style points when he was the only one who refrained from insults during the segment where the indviduals were meant to pay compliments to the individual on the left. May was the worst in that segment.

    I find the French commentators on the blogs seem to consider style and delivery very important, just as much as content. It’s difficult to win on style and delivery in your second language, I think.

    I think the problem with the tufte chart page and with the blogs is that 95% of the people commenting are political buffs and will have already made up their minds, and will already have a preferred leader.

    On the tufte page it seems all strong moments were Duceppe’s.

    Another interesting thing is that it looks as though once an individual started talking, the opinions swung immediately, as if people started hitting their buttons as soon as someone opened his mouth, without even waiting for what was said.

  6. I’ll agree that May really blew the answer about Harper. This is why the Green Party needs a decent leader at the helm again.

    A decent leader would have come up with something along the lines of “Mr. Harper is a strong and decisive leader. Once he has a goal in mind, he will let nothing stop him, not public opinion, not science, not facts, not his own word or even his own legislation.”

  7. Wow.. that’s .. wow..

    I thought the same thing that someone else mentioned, to have such uniformly bad reviews either means that every one of Harper’s answers was terrible.. or that the crowd had already made up their mind (considering that Harper is polling at ~20% in Quebec that’s likely). It’d be more useful if we knew what the breakdown of the voters were but oh well. I’m leaning towards the latter possibility since I saw the debates and didn’t think Harper’s responses were bad at all.


    May’s answer as it was failed. Saying something nice about someone shouldn’t be an exercise in back-handedness, it should be genuine. Harper was genuine about Layton, Layton genuine about Dion, etc.. For May to break that was .. well.. disgusting.

  8. Layton’s expression while Harper praised him was priceless.

    Lots of room for stairwell wit on this one; I was just thinking I’d have said something like,

    “M. Layton a bien servi son parti. Il l’a trouvé, comme Napoléon a trouvé la couronne française, dans la rue, et il l’a soulevé, sinon avec son épée, au moins avec son moustache.”

    Nobody was getting that personal, of course, but they might have lightened the tone a little with some humour – the question was about as dull as possible. But maybe that would have alienated the Earnest Vote.

  9. Not that The Record, Kitchener-Waterloo’s newspaper, is influencing the national perspective or anything, but they have the following headline this morning:

    “Leaders Gang Up on Harper”

    The first line: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper found himself the target of a four-headed fury in the televised French-language debate last night.”

    So much for theories of a wildly liberal media! The paper is owned by the Toronto Star.

    You’d think he was the incumbent PM or something, and that the other leaders were gunning for his job…

  10. Sean S., there seem to quite a few of those headlines and certainly CTV was pushing that angle.

    Hasn’t it always been thus?

    I don’t remember a debate when the opposition wasn’t gunning for the PM. What makes this one different? May’s participation?

  11. Dion wears well on TV. His problem is making speeches in front of audiences. His handlers should just put him on talk shows and townhalls from now on.

    He has that sincere professorial look that is very hard to distrust or frankly dislike. Plus, he speaks a very elegant form of French.

    We’ll see how well he does in English.

  12. Here’s a newsbit from Saint John, New Brunswick.

    Local MP Paul Zed was canvasing door to door in Rothesay (a section of the riding that he actually lives in) with none other than Liberal MP Ken Dryden.

    What does it tell you when Paul Zed is going door to door with Ken Dryden in a neighborhood that is like 2 kilometers from his own house.

  13. It means sometimes the goalie has to play outside the crease.

  14. My favorite part of the debate was hearing May’s off-camera voice blaring “c’est pas vrai, c’est pas vrai” every time Harper opened his mouth.

    Cracked me up!

  15. “Representative?

    We’ll see in thirteen days.”

    Whatta matta… Kody gotta boo-boo?

  16. Incidentally, the mad scientists behind this dial-group thing are at


    and as soon as they have instructions up for English readers for tonight’s adventure, I’ll send everyone there.

  17. Paul Wells: Brilliant!

    Never enjoyed a debate as much thanks to the ability to feel closer to the action–thanks to you guys.

  18. I’m one of the instigators of buzzz.tv initiative.

    It’s all set actually, on the web site to received the English – ROC community (and others) tonight in the same «experimental» conditions as yesterday. The «help» button will be enable later on…

    The real experiment begin at 21 h 00, but few minutes before the entire web site will be open.

    We do our best to stand as much trafic as possible but remember that this project wasn’t an idea 20 days ago ;-)

    Thanks Paul!

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