Biased Debate Assessment

Since everyone is expecting me to say that May won, I will simply quote the views of 2512 Canadians, polled by Ipsos-Reid (h/t: Calgary Grit):

“Impressions of the Leaders…

 “Subtracting worsened impressions from improved impressions, opinions of Elizabeth May improved (net +49) the most as a result of the debate, while Jack Layton (net +28) also fared well. Stephane Dion (net +11) also had a solid debate, while Gilles Duceppe (+6) also came out ahead. The only party leader to have overall impressions worsen was Stephen Harper (net -10), despite the fact that more viewers thought he won the debate than another leader.”

And one more:

“Effect of Debate on Vote…

“Overall, the effect of this debate on voters’ intentions is mild. Nearly two in ten (15%) English-speaking Canadians who watched the debate say that they have changed their mind about who to vote for on October 14th as a result of viewing the debate.

 “Among those who changed their vote, 37% say they would now vote NDP, 26% say they would now Liberal, 25% say they would now vote Green, and 9% say they would now vote Conservative.”

Let’s do the math. 25% of the 15% of opinion changers is 3.75% of English voters who’s vote has switched to Green. If this is accurate (and it may not be so), then May attracted nearly as many new votes in the debate as the Greens received in the last election (4.5%), among debate watchers. She didn’t “win”, but she likely accomplished as much as could have been expected.

UPDATE: The right-wingers at Macleans seem to agree that May did well.

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3 responses to “Biased Debate Assessment

  1. Quick follow-up: who lost? Clearly, the Conservatives failed to attract new voters and secure their majority. Only 31% thought SH won – even though they are sitting at nearly 40% in the polls. More people had a worse impression of Harper, and few people changed their votes to the Tories.

  2. There’s absolutely no way that 15% of Canadians who watched the debate have changed their vote based on it. That’s just bad data, as nothing occurred to justify that shift. They all did a reasonable job, and there were no knockout punches thrown.

    I do think that May probably picked up some new votes from people who weren’t familiar with her beforehand, and those who are tired of the other parties.

  3. Hi Frog,

    We certainly can’t know if that number is accurate or happens to be an extreme outlier. However, Nik Nanos has mentioned on several occasions over the election that the number of undecided voters is very high relative to past elections. I have a feeling – and its only an extremely biased feeling – that the undecideds are generally trying to decide between Libs, Dippers, and Greens. So, I’ll predict a very slight slide in Tory support as these Undecideds come on board for one of the other parties. Tories will win, but have not run a good enough campaign to assure a majority, yet.

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