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By PAUL FAIRIE(@paulisci)
Who won the debate?
Public opinion data has been streaming in since the federal leaders' debate last Thursday, and all evidence suggests that voters remain as divided as ever.
On the simple question of who won, Forum found that 23 per cent of respondents chose Stephen Harper, 22 per cent said Justin Trudeau and 18 per cent selected Thomas Mulcair. Yet, the poll gives little reason for any party to celebrate since the largest group of Canadians – 30 per cent – said that none of them had won.
Additionally, this question is less a measure of debate prowess and more a marker of pre-existing preferences, as most people conveniently reported that their favourite party's leader won the debate.
A better measure of who won can be seen by looking at who moved the most votes. Here, too, signals are mixed. While the Nanos three-day tracking poll showed its usual three-way race, Ipsos had the Liberals taking a small lead. The last time they had the Liberals in first was back in late May when they were tied at 31 per cent with the Conservatives. Similarly, the Liberals continue their gradual improvement in the Globe Election Forecast.
All said, polling numbers suggest Canadians are still faced with the possibility of the closest three-way race in history.
DAILY TRACKING FROM NANOS RESEARCH
Nik Nanos: "Close race continues, Liberals and Conservatives numerically tied."
> Conservatives: 31.5 per cent (up 2.5 from last week)
> NDP: 29.1 per cent (down 2.5 from last week)
> Liberals: 31.6 per cent (up 1.5 from last week)
> Green: 4.2 per cent (down 1.3 from last week)
> Bloc: 2.6 per cent (down 0.2 from last week)
The margin of error is 2.8 points. Click here for Nanos methodology
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
By Chris Hannay (@channay)
> The Liberal Leader and the Liberal Party of Canada have struggled to connect with voters in Quebec. If there is a turnaround to be had, it will start Thursday evening with the first of two French-language debates.
> A Conservative goal of 1.3 million new jobs is possible, economists say, but it would require strong economic growth to accomplish it.
> Hillary Clinton is against Keystone XL.
> Former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts, now running federally for the Conservatives, is defending a party flyer that promises the Tories will "fight jihadist terrorists at home and abroad" and warns voters "will not feel secure in your bedrooms."
> Gilles Duceppe says he'd use the notwithstanding clause to support a ban on niqabs in citizenship ceremonies if need be.
> Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page hasn't exactly endorsed the New Democrat's fiscal policy framework, but says he is indebted to party Leader Tom Mulcair for having his back when his office's budget was slashed.
TODAY'S ELECTION SIMULATION
Conservative support craters in Ontario, leaving the NDP to win a small plurality of 131 seats and the Liberals the chance to become the opposition with 111 seats. Try your hand at our simulator and find out what could happen if an election were held today.
Overall, the NDP currently have a 41 per cent chance of winning the most seats.
WHERE THE LEADERS ARE
Party leaders are preparing for Thursday night's French-language debate in Montreal. Thomas Mulcair begins the day with a meeting with Mayor Denis Coderre, before giving a speech at 12:30 p.m. ET. Justin Trudeau gives a speech at noon.
TURFING THE WATCHDOG
For 10 years, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin was a thorn in the side of the governing Liberals. Dalton McGuinty tried and failed to get rid of him. But now he's gone. Queen's Park reporter Adrian Morrow explains how Kathleen Wynne finally turfed one of the government's most tenacious critics.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"Basically, then, the Conservatives gave the [Terry Fox] foundation what it wanted – a campaign-trail commitment for funding if re-elected – except the party went rogue and did it without the foundation's oversight. Other than that, it is difficult to see a significant difference between what happened and what was supposed to happen. So what's the problem?" – The Globe editorial board on a campaign dispute.
Anna Lennox Esselment (Globe and Mail): "Studies have also shown that those people most likely to vote do so because it is habit; this particular habit should be formed at the earliest opportunity."
Gerald Caplan (Globe and Mail): "Every time I hear someone say the NDP is in the lead and this election could be won by any of the three parties, I begin to shake all over."
Lysiane Gagnon (Globe and Mail): "Is Stephen Harper a "racist" for having used the expression "old-stock Canadians"? If he is, then I am."
Jeffrey Simpson (Publication): "Conservatives will need a heavy dose of caffeine or a stiff Scotch whisky to get through the first hour of election night. After that first hour, things will improve for Conservatives as results spill in from elsewhere. Those returns in the first hour or so from Atlantic Canada, however, are likely to range between bad and brutal for the governing party."
LOOKAHEAD: WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK
The French-language consortium debate will be held on Thursday.
The election is in 26 days.
This newsletter is produced by Chris Hannay and Steve Proceviat.
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