Thursday, April 14, 2011

Debate ratings up in election no one supposedly wants

This could be the biggest story of the past two days, election-wise: "English debate’s viewership gets hefty boost over 2008." See also: "Leaders debate attracts record number of viewers."
Ratings monitor BBM Canada said that 3.85 million viewers watched the debate Tuesday night, an increase of 26 per cent compared with 2008’s showdown. The number jumped to 10.6 million viewers once those who only watched a portion of the debate were included.
That is a substantial increase. Seems people do care despite what a certain political party likes to say. And it may bode well for those who want to increase turnout as opposed to those trying to suppress other party's voters. We'll see but it definitely seems to be a positive development.

Other notes on le débat hier soir...along the same lines as the point above, the most discussed figure of the evening was actually not one of the debaters, its was this woman, Muguette Paillé, who became a bit of a folk hero last night on Twitter and who was interviewed afterwards for her views on the debate given the interest in her.

What does it say about the debate that this woman became the story? That she resonated, her concerns are real and what people want to focus on, likely. At least, that seemed to be the reaction online.

In terms of hard debate news, the exchange between Duceppe and Ignatieff over Quebec's constitutional status is getting some attention. Whether that issue is truly top of mind for Quebec voters or Duceppe rallying his base, I'd go with the latter and just add a reminder of Lucien Bouchard's remarks in February 2010 and Ignatieff's subsequent letter to the Quebec people to round out the picture. His statement was not so controversial, in other words. More coverage on that angle and the rest of the debate's highlights here. It really was an engaging debate, hopefully we will see higher ratings for it as well.

Analysts...Chantal, oh why must the glass always be half empty?

And to close off, here is one of Ignatieff's better moments, replete with the Harper death stare: