Who won the election debates? Canadians may have changed views on leaders

(FromL) Federal party leaders, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, host Patrice Roy from Radio, Canada's Prime Minister and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet pose for pictures before the Federal leaders French language debate at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec on October 10, 2019. (Photo by Sean Kilpatrick / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SEAN KILPATRICK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

This week, Canada’s six federal party leaders participated in English and French debates, the final opportunity to question each other on their platforms and promises before Canadians head to the polls.

Through some fierce discussions and snippy one-liners, Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May, Maxime Bernier and Yves-Francois Blanchet tried to move the dial of support in their favour.

Following both the English and French debates, the Conservative Party leader was quick to claim victory - even though he admitted that his French-language skills are not the best of the group.

During and after the English debate on Monday, Yahoo Canada asked readers who came out on top. Over 50 per cent of respondents said Scheer won the debate while 24 per cent said it was Trudeau, followed by Singh with 15 per cent of the votes.

“Andrew Scheer is only one who speaks from the CENTER,” one reader said in the comments.

“Andrew Scheer was the loser in the debate he used personal attacks that are immature and desperate we are a society opposed to bullying yet he wants to be prime minister by bullying,” another wrote.

“Too much mud slinging, not enough discussion about critical matters facing country,” another commenter said following Monday’s debate.

The Liberal Party circulated a series of quotes after both events to share messages from journalists and political experts who said Trudeau had the best performance both nights and concrete policies.

“The poverty rate in Canada has fallen to unprecedented lows under the [Liberal] government. [Statistics Canada] has said this in significant part is due to policy changes introduced by the government.” - Miles Corak (The Graduate Center, City University of New York) said on Twitter on Oct. 10.

"Mr. Trudeau proved willing to fight back and make his Conservative political rival his rhetorical punching bag, forcing him to defend his stance on social issues such as abortion rights.” - Jessica Murphy, BBC News said on Oct. 8.

Singh’s charm changes impressions

Abacus Data

According to a poll of 2,347 Canadians from Abacus Data, conducted online from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10, 59 per cent of respondents who watched or heard about the English debate were left with a positive impression of the NDP leader.

Conversely, approximately 36 per cent were left with a positive impression of both Trudeau and Scheer.

“Jagmeet Singh won the debate on Monday,” David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data said in a statement. “More important, among accessible NDP voters – those not intending to vote NDP but saying they would consider it – 32% thought he did most to earn his vote, slightly ahead of Trudeau.”

Abacus Data

Additionally, the survey found that 35 per cent believe Scheer did more to lose their vote, compared to 30 per cent who were turned off by Trudeau’s performance and Singh with a mere 6 per cent.

“Mr. Scheer did little to impress potential Conservative supporters,” the analysis from Coletto reads. “Those already intending to vote Conservative approved of his performance and that was likely to point: motivate Conservative voters and while trying to divide more progressive voters away from the Liberals.”

Did the debates change your opinion of any of the party leaders? Follow our Federal Election Candidate Tracker for the latest on all the leaders and their policies.