Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion clearly prevailed in the French-language leaders' debate, according to viewers surveyed by Ipsos Reid immediately after Wednesday's telecast.That last one is kind of amusing; it shows that the Conservatives can only go so far with their Republican-style charm offensive. It's still Harper, after all; you aren't going to turn Brown into Blair, and you aren't going to turn Harper into Bush.
The online poll found 40 per cent of voters said Mr. Dion won the debate, compared with 24 per cent who gave the contest to Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper came in at 16 per cent, NDP Leader Jack Layton at 11 per cent, and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May at just 1 per cent.
A Crop poll for La Presse with a smaller sample size found Mr. Dion ranked second, trailing Mr. Duceppe by only 6 per cent among viewers who rated their performance as "excellent" or "very good." Only 18 per cent said Mr. Harper had won the debate...
...The Ipsos Reid poll found 36 per cent of viewers rated Mr. Dion as the leader who sounds and acts most like a prime minister, ahead of Mr. Harper at 31 per cent. One in five respondents – 20 per cent – said they had changed their mind about who to vote for as a result of viewing the debate.
The debate, which took place at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, was seen as critical to Mr. Harper's effort to win a majority government and to Mr. Dion's efforts to revive the faltering Liberal campaign. The bout saw Mr. Harper raked over the coals, smiling thinly as his opponents did most of the talking. The multipronged barrage appeared to leave the Conservative Leader resigned to having to weather the onslaught.
• 41 per cent of voters said Mr. Dion offered the best policies and ideas during the debate. In second was Mr. Duceppe at 22 per cent, Mr. Layton at 19 per cent, Mr. Harper at 13 per cent and Ms. May at 1 per cent.
• Mr. Layton was ranked most likeable and the person voters would most like to go out with for a beer or coffee. Mr. Layton was also viewed to be the most visually attractive (33 per cent), following by Mr. Duceppe at 22 per cent, Mr. Dion at 19 per cent, Mr. Harper at 15 per cent and Ms. May at 5 per cent.
(He's more like Cheney.)
Aside from that, though, it looks like the Liberals did what they had to do: take away the caricature and show their leader for who he is. Dion did what he had to do as well: show that he can put in a good performance and act like a legitimate contender for the top job. And he definitely needs to highlight what could be great lines for him: Dion's own short-term economic plan, and Harper's dangerously over-the-top partisanship.
He needs to remind people that over-the-top partisanship is fine in a blogger, of course, but a PM's job is different. A PM has to listen to, say, Canadian Medical Association Journal editorialists. Even if they happened to donate a few bucks to the Liberals.
Back in 2006.
As one of several authors of the piece.
Which was only one of several critical pieces.
(This guy really IS Cheney, isn't he?)