English Leaders Debate Audience Says Harper Comes Out on Top (31%), But Layton Not Far Behind (25%) and May (17%) Performs Well Above Expectations

CanWest News Service
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Toronto, ON - The results of an near instantaneous Ipsos Reid/CanWest News Service poll, conducting during Thursday night's English-language leaders' debate among English-speaking voters who were watching the debate, has revealed:
The Winner...
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper emerges as the winner heading into the conclusion of Thursday's English-language debate, with 31% of Canadian voters who responded to the survey while viewing the English-language debate saying the Prime Minister was poised to win (down 9 points from the 40% who thought he would win). This is compared 25% who feel that NDP Leader Jack Layton was set to win (up 5 points), placing him in a close second-place finish. Interestingly, more English-speaking Canadians who viewed the debate thought that Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (17%, up 13 points) was winning the debate than thought Liberal Leader Stephane Dion was winning (15%, up 4 points). Just 2% of Anglophones thought that Gilles Duceppe would come out on top (up 1 point). One in ten (10%) viewers didn't know who was winning the debate.
Being Prime Ministerial...
In stark contrast to the French-language debate, nearly one half (47%) of English-debate viewers thought that Stephen Harper sounded and acted most Prime Ministerial, down 6 points from the 53% who thought, prior to the debate, that he most sounded and acted in this manner. Nearly one quarter (24%, down 2 points) thought that Jack Layton was most Prime Ministerial, while 16% thought Dion best fit this role (up 6 points). Just 7% thought May was most Prime Ministerial (up 5 points), and 3% believe Duceppe sounded and acted in this manner (up 1 point).
The Best Ideas and Policies...
According to 31% (down 6 points since pre-debate poll) of voters, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered the best policies and ideas during the debate. Jack Layton (22%, down 3 points), Stephane Dion (21%, up 3 points), and Elizabeth May (20%, up 12 points) were closely clustered in second, third, and fourth place, respectively. Just 2% thought that Gilles Duceppe had the best ideas (up 1 point).
Likeability of the Leaders...
Jack Layton scored the best in terms of likeability with 31% of viewers (down 9 points) saying that he was the most likeable and the person they'd most like to go out for a beer or coffee with. In second-place was a tie between Stephen Harper (25%, up 2 points) and Elizabeth May (25%, up 5 points), while Stephane Dion (10%, up 2 points) and Gilles Duceppe (7%, up 3 points) trailed.
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.
Improved Worsened
Stephen Harper 30% 40%
Stephane Dion 42% 31%
Jack Layton 49% 21%
Gilles Duceppe 30% 24%
Elizabeth May 65% 16%
Most Visually Attractive...
One in three (33%) who viewed the debate found Jack Layton to be the most visually attractive (down 2 points), followed by Stephen Harper (28%, down 1 point). Stephane Dion (13%, up 7 points), Gilles Duceppe (9%, up 2 points) and Elizabeth May (5%, down 2 points) didn't fare as well in this category.
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.
These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of CanWest News Service and Global Television prior to and during the English language leaders' debate on October 2, 2008. This survey of 2,512 English-speaking Canadian adults who watched the debate, was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel. The sample was drawn from a pre-recruited panel of over 12,000 voters. Weighting then was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the Canadian adult population according to the latest Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls because they are based on samples drawn from opt-in online panels, not on random samples that mirror the population within a statistical probability ratio. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. However, an unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire English-speaking adult population in Canada been polled.

Organizations: Ipsos Reid, CanWest News Service, Green Party Global Television Ipsos I-Say Online Panel

Geographic location: Toronto, ON, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 11:22

    Well Sebastion you have an interesting site but not one that appeals to my belief system. I'm a federalist who believes in the strengthening of the country and not the destruction of it. I wish you the best in your chosen path but I don't have any interest in participating.


  • Sebastian
    January 18, 2010 - 11:20

    Robert from Amherst, my apologies. I mis-read your statement, 'but being a separatist I still had trouble taking him seriously.' I thought you were refering to yourself, not to Deceppe.

  • My 2 ¢
    January 18, 2010 - 11:18

    Don't forget, Gilles Duceppe kept repeating the reimbursable taxes over and over too!

    But I hate to say it, as much as I dislike Harper, Dion didn't impressed me much either. He lacked charisma and didn't explain things very clearly. It could be the english, but to run a country, you need to be fluent and comfortable with both languages. IMO

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 11:14

    No worries Sabastion. It is certainly very easy to misconstrue text discussions.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:09

    Hey Ronin,

    Leave Mr. or Mrs. Speaker alone! Maritime Secessionists party? Novaacadia? So lets get this party straight. It was started by you. Weren't you apart of the green party in BC but you didn't like it for some reason and left the party? Your posts in the New Glasgow paper concerning Ms. May are quite illuminating. Then you were apart of some secessionist group in Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Party or something. They even had a piece in htis paper early in the year. Now you left that group and are NOW apart of Novacadia, a group you started? Is that true?

    How many members are in this group? Why did you leave the atlantic party? I'm starting my own party its called the *Wild Party*. Do you really want Canada broken up?

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 11:03

    Ronin, aren't you being a bit contradictory? You say you can't take Duceppe seriously because he is a separatist and then you speak highly about maritime separation*/*secession*. Do you have trouble taking yourself seriously?

  • Sebastian
    January 18, 2010 - 10:59

    Robert from Amherst re He had a few good ideas as well (his territorial pollution credit system was pretty interesting) but being a separatist I still had trouble taking him seriously.

    Robert, the time approaches for Maritime secessionists to come out of their self-imposed and isolated woodwork. Should you have the time to do so, I ask you to visit www.novacadia.org.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:57

    hey ronin

    I was on your website, what does this mean:

    The NAmerican Secessionist Political Trilogy: Post-Peak Oil, 9/11 Truth, North American Union.

    9/11 truth? is this a conspiracy thing? Dont' we already have a north american union? It's called Canada. Post-peak oil? I tried reading what it is but it doesn't make much sense. what is post peak oil?

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 10:54

    Yeah. Duceppe was pretty adamant on that subject. He had a few good ideas as well (his territorial pollution credit system was pretty interesting) but being a separatist I still had trouble taking him seriously. Dion comes across as a caring leader but hes very soft spoken. I think he truly has a grasp on the reality of the situation but needs to work on his sales pitch. Out of all the participants I think he gained the most last night. Every time I see Layton in an election all I can visualize is a Jack Russel Terrier bouncing around the feet of the other leaders continually barking the same mantra over and over and over. He is frightening in his single-mindedness to a specific cause. The *Exxon* tax he kept repeating last night is a prime example. He needs to learn that this isnt Sherwood Forest. Should he do as he says then say goodbye to a good part of our industry.

    That was the first time I managed to sit through an entire debate. Over all it was very informative and entertaining at the same time. Based on the debate (future happenings notwithstanding) Im pretty sure my choice is already made.

  • Sebastian
    January 18, 2010 - 10:40

    Frank Speaker, please give your head a shake. You are attributing something to me that Robert said. Either please get your reading or your names down straight. Who is it who has trouble being taken seriously? Thanks.

  • Sebastian
    January 18, 2010 - 10:37

    Robert from Amherst:

    Isn't it a pleasure to be adult and reciprocate with decent manners...even in the Borgosphere? And a good day to you, sir.

  • J
    January 18, 2010 - 10:34

    As an adult and one raised in the art of proper mannerisms I want you to know Ronin I'm ready to come out of my self-imposed and isolated woodwork and support the Maritime secessionists. Keep up the good work, someday the benefits of union will be understood by all and finally we can be at peace.

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    I don't know what debate these people were watching but it couldn't have been the federal debate in Ottawa. Harper was hammered in the debate I watched last night. He rarely ever looked at the camera when speaking (always looked at the table), he couldn't put out a plan (or platform) unlike the other leaders and had his track record torn apart time and again. He appeared insincere and uncomfortable. When asked if he would raise taxes he said *I will not raise taxes* while hiding his mouth in a glass of water. Very sly and dishonest tactic.

    And Layton? My god he looked just like a salesman who couldn't let go of his one single issue and that was corporate tax (or lack thereof). Every single issue brought up he had to throw out the *corporate tax break*. His whole platform (as massively over-inflated and socialist as they come) was based entirely on axing the corporate tax breaks. His numbers just don't add up. He simply plans to tax big business into the stone age and give all the money to everyone else. In theory... sure. It's just like Robin Hood but in reality it would cause massive deficit and unemployment. He just couldn't see that.

    Dion actually looked like the most honest (along with May but she really appeared inexperienced). He always looked in the camera and always told his platform clearly. Did he have issues with english? Sure but his English is loads better than my French. I think he shook off some of the image given him by Harper. He looked very intelligent and prepared. He was the only leader with a 30 day onset platform.

    It was a good debate but I still feel Harper looked foolish. Right out of the gate, instead of answering the first question he simply spent 40 seconds (of his allotted 45 seconds) attacking others. He didn't answer it. He couldnt. He's a dead horse.

  • Sebastian
    January 18, 2010 - 10:31

    J Conrad from New Glasgow: Thank you.

    It is unfortunate that hardly any Nova Scotians are aware that up to the 1920's the NS flag was flown at half-mast on Dominion Day. It is important for a peoples to know their history, and not just the pap that is taught in schools.

    Please feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss further. Email address is in the site as is a link to my blog: www.novacadia.org.

    Once again, thank you.