Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Lapierre: "Dion Won The Debate"

Sifting through the spin, a poll of Quebecers post-debate feelings gives it to DION. Lapierre citing a Quebec television sampling of views, says that Dion won hands down, Harper was "asleep at the switch". I haven't heard Lapierre say a good thing about Dion since he took the leadership, if he was generally excited about his performance, the best he's been in front of the Quebec people, then its objectively noted.

After hearing the feedback from Quebecers, I know what I saw wasn't partisan filter. I don't think there was any knockout blows, or that sort of frame, but Dion was measured, detailed, coherent, engaged and politely forceful. If you watched the body language, you would have seen Duceppe constantly looking to Dion as he spoke, as though an acknowledgement of respect, I found that unconscious cue quite telling.

Harper lost, period. At times he had no answers, at others feeble words, quickly talked over by others. Duceppe did well, but Duceppe always does well. Layton had his moments, but pretty forgettable. May "stole" the debate in the expectations department, refreshing and authentic. But, overall Dion wins, not just because people agree, but because he was able to confront the shallow negative impressions. Dion showed he can be PM, he provided a stark contrast. Interestingly, the Liberals Harper/Bush comparison was echoed continually by everyone, which only reinforces the talking point.

Bravo Stephane, and apparently that impression isn't just partisan spin ;)


Ipsos out with some reaction, and guess what:

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.

Ah, voters, how quaint.


liberazzi said...

I wouldnt exactly say that Dion "won" the debate, because that is all relative. I think on style Duceppe probably won. However, Dion achieved what he needed to achieve and that is what you have stated. Dion had to dispel these myths that the CPC goons have tried to portray him as, weak etc etc. Dion looked poised, intelligent, resolute. Yes, if Lapierre and Hebert are happy, then Dion came through. Plus, Dion's economic plan stole the show. Ok, but that was just the apetizer and may have solidified the Libs 12 - 15 seats in Quebec. Ok job done. Now in English, eeeee, in our heart of hearts we are worried. However, Dion plays the low expectations game to a tee. Also, he needs to find a better suit, a beefier tie...

On Harper, the man is a compulsive liar. I was yelling a the tv, everytime he would sprew out his nonsense. May perhaps was not very leadership like, when she called Harper a fraud, but I thank her for saying it anyways. Finally, Jack was Jack...

I think Dion's goal tomorrow is to shore up the progressive vote and start to nibble away at the Dips 19% and the Greens 9%, which we have been saying from the beginning. Harper has his 35% give or take, so lets concede that number for now and try and make it close.

All in all a good night and a good week so far. Dion doesnt need to win tomorrow, but he needs another good performance to boost his leadership numbers, which are starting to improve, which in turn will have a positive effect on the Libs numbers. After that we need to be around 30% by Monday and either hold there or incrementally increase by the end of the last week. Remember, all we need is to be around 32% to make it interesting.

Miles Lunn said...

I think Dion generally did well. I put Duceppe as the overall winner, but I think since expectations were much higher for him than Dion, than Dion winning makes sense. I agree Harper did the worse of the five although I wouldn't say it was a disaster. In the English debates, it might be okay since he just needs to hold his current numbers, but in Quebec he needed up uptick which he didn't get.

Steve V said...

Nobody "won", but I take great comfort that Quebecers gave Dion the debate, the province that supposedly hates him. Think about that for a second :)

Dame said...

Now This is VERY GOOD news .


Gayle said...

I was shocked to hear that from Lapierre.

Also, Andrew Steele at the Globe pointed out that the Liberal's economic plan introduced tonight should get some good play in the media tomorrow (although I notice the Post is completely ignoring it...).

I really liked May - but then I probably would have debated in a similar way (which is why I am not in politics) :).

I wonder how it will play in the English media - will expectations for Dion be higher tomorrow? We certainly know Harper will come out swinging.

Finally, did anyone watch the scrum after the debate? I could not believe Dion was getting questions implying he was too polite!

Steve V said...


All the leaders were sort of attacked in the post-debate scrum.

Here's the deal from my view. Harper lost and Dion did very well. If you told me that today, I'd say that's the best case scenario.

Let Harper's team regroup, we have some wind in our sails.

I think that first 30 days angle could be effective, shows they are ready to go, denotes a real urgency and Dion seems PMish. How anyone can criticize getting all the player together immediately to get a game plan escapes me. I see it as hollow spin.

Steve V said...


I just saw this from Wells on Dion's idea, and it sort of echoes my point:

"Dion will be able to take this list of ideas into the English debate without having to hang his head in shame. Is anyone actually against asking the Bank and the provinces for ideas?"

Gayle said...

Steve - I am just amazed that a reporter actually thought courtesy was an appropriate question, after a debate that discussed actual policy.

Sometimes you just have to shake your head.

Steve V said...

Most of these people live in a parallel universe, all huddled together in the little room, trying to out clever each other, so much so they look detached from reality. That's why I liked this voter feedback, it cuts through all this posturing crap.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you said. That said...

I actually felt that Stéphane Bureau and the SRC did a "relatively fair" job tonight on their coverage. Quebec news is less whiny than English news at times like this (Elections).

On the Harper having to say nice things about Layton, I actually felt like Harper was trying to be careful not to show too much love for Layton. Layton tried to dodge it regarding Dion. I felt May's pain at finding something nice to say about Harper and respected Dion's view of Duceppe.

Overall, I agree. The best were ex-equo Dion and Duceppe, except I would put this debate for francophones elsewhere in Canada as an advantage to Dion.

I enjoyed the format better than previous debates. Harper was unable to get away from his talking points - except when it came to his social conservative views... He also had that smug look most of the time; I guess it's his default look when he isn't in control.

The overall tone of the debate was better than usual.

Dion: exceeded expectations and was less professorial than usual (although I don't mind that "tone"); had excellent come-backs; good manner; of course, better policy.

Duceppe: Did well. Raised many sensitive issues concerning the Québécois. Agreed with many Liberal policy/plan/direction.

Layton: Got across third. Looked a bit earnest. Liked the 50 Million "help" to the Tar Sands - repetitious excellent line. I appreciated that he attacked Harper most, compared to his last election campaign where he almost only attacked the Liberals.

May: Good "single mother" reference (as "it really exists"). Was a bit disappointed with her french capabilities, although I could totally understand her. I liked that she pointed out many times the Harper lies - although, without calling them lies a such.

Also liked the fact that a woman was in the debate.

Harper: Did not change my negative opinion of him. Looked like he was restraining himself, at which point I started noticing a pimple on his right cheek, although primped - looked like it was popping up. His answers were whiny and scripted. He used a paternalistic tone most of the time, and was often condescending regarding his opponents. I thought there was a moment where "Jack" (anyone notice how Harper kept calling him Jack as opposed to Mr. Layton?) was going to slap him because of the Harper condescension...

Anyways, it's a quick impression of tonight's french debate.

Steve V said...


Great insights.

Steve V said...

La Presse gave Layton fourth. I thought he did fine, but if he comes up relatively short in this debate, particularly with Dion doing well, it might help the Libs in their stronghold.

liberazzi said...

Dion had the best line in the end, "our plan was made in Canada, unlike Harper's which was made in Australia" ha ha, awesome

Steve V said...


See the update :)

Steve V said...

More from a La Presse poll (translated):

Duceppe and Dion, the big winners


Ah, goodness.

Gayle said...

Those poll results are amazing!

You know Harper is going to come out swinging tomorrow.

Gayle said...

Your link does not work

Steve V said...


RuralSandi said...

My husband said that all Layton ever says is Harper is wrong on the issue, or Dion is wrong on the issue....everyone is wrong on whatever issue being discussed.

I hadn't noticed, but hubby is right...that's what Jack says - wrong ....ah, Jack each party leader thinks the others are wrong - so it's a non-response.

Layton most attractive? To each their own. He's got to get rid of that stupid moustache.

Gayle said...

I just wonder how much of this will translate into votes. As I understand it, there is not much organization on the ground in Quebec, so even if people were interested in changing their vote, it probably would be hard for the LPC to capitalize on that.

There is a risk Layton and Harper will attack Dion tomorrow night.

dalestreet said...

I thought Dion did very well and was encouraged that there was some broad, general agreement between the opposition parties on a number of issues, which bodes well for a potential coalition government (especially the NDP and the Bloc on Afganistan, Health Care and the Environment).

What I find discouraging however, is that all I've heard from the English MSM this morning is:

"Opposition Gangs up on Harper in French Debate. PM remains on message that Tories are best for economy in uncertain times."

They seem to ignore that his message is also his plan. I heard nothing from Harper to suggest that he even takes a potential economic crisis seriously! Isn't this the man who asked that the Debates increase their focus on the economy? Why did he even bother? All the other leaders came prepared with ideas and plans for the economy and Harper came with virtually nothing.

Lycan Stark said...

Dion exceeded expecations last night; the expectation that he wouldn't stumble horribly when speaking his native language in a province he grew up in, and when only 6% of people polled ever gave him any kind of a shot of performing well. If exceeding ground level expectations like THAT while totally and desperatley reinventing his economic platform completly on the fly in the middle of the debate and ignoring his own central plank of the Green Shift in the process is what you would consider a "win", well, your grasping at straws. You clearly need to. So knock yourself out. :D

Harper succeeded last night taking on the inevitable pile on, involving everyone else, including two opponents who were in their linguistic element. And Harper did just that, defending his record, calmly brushing off everything thrown at him, and getting his own jabs in when he could get a word in edgewise. Now we'll see if Dion can do the same tonight when the tables are turned. Think so? :D

Gayle said...

lycan - the people who said Dion won are the French Canadians who were polled. GIven that Dion is not particularly popular amongst French Canadians, this is more than just "exceeding expectations".

I know you are desperate to make excuses for your guy, but I see this as the first time Dion has been able to appeal directly to voters without the media filter - and clearly they liked what they saw.

I do not think Harper is going to play the "poor me" card tonight, so I suspect we will see him go a bit harder after Dion.

Demosthenes said...

So, when actually able to speak to the people without the media filter, Dion does well. And Harper doesn't.

Good for him, but I can't say I'm surprised.

Lycan: you, er, should probably rethink your talking points. If only 6% thought he did well, and everybody reads that he either "did well" or outright won, what do you think that's going to do to their opinion of the man?

That isn't just exceeding expectations, that's smashing them to splinters.

Steve V said...


Again, what a useless hack, with nothing to offer put feeble spin.

Hippo yawns.

liberazzi said...

Anxiously awaiting Nanos now to see what impact the debate, Bernier and the speech debacle has had on the numbers. Should we be worried if there is no movement today or wait until tomorrow?

Go away Lycan...or should we call you LieCon?

Dame said...

WOW !!! last night I was able to catch up with watching through the debate .... and i was mightily impressed with Dion and as a sidkick Ms May who was able to say things what others just didn't Risk....
Finally ... Harper is out of his protective Bubble ... Controlled small crowds ..., strictly on scripts .... never ever let real people ask any real question let alone answer it on the Dion or other normal leaders are doing every day on the campaign so here we see He is nothing but a Dumb lil' dictator in sweater clad .... and showing preciously nothing...

Bravo Dion!! Go Dion!!

Steve V said...


The polls won't show any impact today..


I thought that too. Dion has been doing all these townhalls, wading in with the masses, while Harper has been scripted and aloof. I think that showed yesterday, Dion was fit, Harper out of shape.

Miles Lunn said...

So far it definitely looks very good for the Liberals and although there is still time for things to change, this probably in all likelihood killed Harper's chances of getting a majority as he cannot make up enough ground in Ontario and British Columbia alone to get a majority and if he performs poorly in the English debates and Dion does well, may even set the grounds for a surprise Liberal win. That being said, I suspect Harper will do a bit better tonight than last night. The real thing here, is there are very high expectations for him while low ones for Dion and so Dion has a much better chance of beating the expectations than Harper does as well as Harper has far more to lose than Dion does. In fact due to expectations, Harper could perform better in absolute terms than Dion in the English debate, yet still come out worse simply due to people's expectations.

Lycan Stark said...

The latest NANOS -

CPC 37
LPC 26,
NDP 19,
BQ 10,
GP 8

Question: Which of the federal leaders would you best describe as: The most trustworthy leader The most competent leader The leader with the best vision for

Stephen Harper 95 (+3)
Jack Layton 60 (+11)
Stephane Dion 31 (-22)
Elizabeth May 18 (NC)
Gilles Duceppe 14 (-5)

The French debate last night featured no knock-out punches. Duceppe, not surprisingly, did well. The four-on-one format led to a natural disadvantage for Stephen Harper and it seemed his strategy was to get through the debate unscathed, which he did. Elizabeth May showed some pep and command of the facts. Dion did better than expected and I thought Layton did well also. Nothing occurred last night, in my opinion, which would fundamentally change the shape of the race in Quebec. Generally, I thought last night was more of a skirmish than a battle.

So the party number stayed the same, and Dion lost 22(!) points on the leadership index. And when you look at the rest of the poll, no change for Dion on who would make the best PM.

So much for taht Heh. :D

Anonymous said...

Um, Lycan,

I know you must be scatter-shooting all over the web today, but if you'd bothered to read a couple of comments up, you would have noted the following comment from Steve:

"The polls won't show any impact today.."

Polling isn't done after 10:00 pm so today's release wouldn't have included any reaction from it.

Steve V said...


He's not to swift, so talk slowly.