EKOS had shown a sharp narrowing, in the wake of the G8 controversy, the gap down to a mere 5% in their last two day sample out Wednesday. We now see the race widening back to a still manageable 7.5% gap, as Graves sees little debate effect. Of note here, both EKOS and Nanos show the Liberals off marginally, the gap wider than it was going into the debates. However, the change is very slight, so it is fair to say the debates haven’t moved votes in any dramatic way. What that means for the Liberals remains to be seen, but our support has clearly stalled, the debates failing to give any momentum.
EKOS finds both Liberal and NDP support up in Quebec, with the NDP in particular reaching new heights for an EKOS poll. EKOS also finds continued Bloc erosion, now below 30%, which is in contrast to Nanos who sees a bit of a post debate bounce. I suppose we will have to weight for other pollsters to weigh in, or subsequent results to ascertain if there is any post-debate move in Quebec. Given the rave reviews for Duceppe, "instant" polls that gave him the debate handily, I’m more inclined to believe some bounce, or at the very least a firming up of Bloc support.
In Ontario, both pollsters show quite similar results, a statistical tie, both main parties howering just below the 40% threshold. Both pollsters do show the Liberals slightly off from pre-debate levels, but nothing of consequence, furthering the view of a fairly bland debate. Interesting too, so little movement, despite a large uptick in viewership, relative to the 2008 debate.
The polls are telling me that the NDP have some momentum. I am cautious though, because in terms of seats, Quebec still seems a reach, distribution wise. That said, the NDP have wind in their sails, maybe more important, they have shaken off the "squeezed out" talk that was hobbling them pre-debate.
In addition, the Liberals have lost momentum coming out of the debates. Ignatieff probably helped his personal standing, which could bear fruit later, but there is no question the debates won’t produce the "bounce" we had hoped for. It took some time for the very attractive, vibrant guy on the campaign trail to translate to the debate, as Ignatieff seemed a bit over prepped in my opinion, searching for pre-determined lines, rather than riffing.
With regard to the Conservatives, fairly static and clearly not the spread they need in Ontario to have the slightest hope of a majority. The Liberals are pretty strong, their numbers have maintained a high levels, so the majority talk might be more pundit inspired than empirically based. As I mentioned earlier this chatter might help the Liberals, we shall see, but the Conservatives also don’t seem to have any real momentum in this campaign. In fact, I haven’t been impressed with their team at all, if not for the pre-writ one sided onslaught, this performance might be getting more scrutiny.
We are starting to head down the home stretch now…
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