Election Poll: Singh impresses at debate while Trudeau and Scheer break even

Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson

Following the English language network debate, we polled Canadians on their reactions. Here’s what we found:


The vast majority (87%) didn’t watch the whole debate.  Just under half (47%) watched all (13%) of some (29%) of it.  Another 23% said they heard something about it from others, and 25% heard nothing about it.


In terms of the impressions left on those who watched the debate or heard about it from others, Mr. Trudeau recorded 36% positive and 37% negative opinion.  For Andrew Scheer, the results were similar with 36% positive and 38% negative.

Jagmeet Singh left positive impressions among 59% and negative impressions among 11%.

Elizabeth May left positive impressions with 39% and negative impressions with 16%.

Yves-Francois Blanchet left 21% positive and 29% negative feelings.  Maxime Bernier positively impressed 14% but alienated far more, at 42%.

Bernier turned off the most (42%) with the fewest (14%) saying he left a positive impression.


Jagmeet Singh found 29% saying he did the most to win their vote followed by Justin Trudeau (23%) and Andrew Scheer (23%). Elizabeth May trailed at 7%, and the other two leaders combined for 7%.


Andrew Scheer did more than the others to turn people off (35%) followed by Justin Trudeau (30%), Elizabeth May (6%), Jagmeet Singh (6%). Other leaders (Blanchet/Bernier) combined for 10%.


According to Bruce Anderson: “With five challengers, any incumbent faces headwinds in a debate of this sort and so the results for Mr. Trudeau suggest he held his ground.  For Andrew Scheer, the results were better than in his last outing, but it’s likely that his opening attack on Mr. Trudeau may have pleased his base but turned off accessible voters. For Jagmeet Singh, the debate could turn out to be a meaningful turning point for the NDP campaign, but time will tell if the impact is more on his personal reputation or on the course of the campaign overall. “

According to David Coletto: “Jagmeet Singh won the debate on Monday. Almost six in ten Canadians who watched or heard of it said he left them with a positive impression of them, 20-points more than any other leader. 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.

It remains to be seen whether his performance will translate into more votes, but the NDP leader has some momentum now, and Canadians are increasingly warming to him.

Mr. Scheer, the debate was likely a draw in terms of its net impact. Mr. Scheer did little to impress potential Conservative supporters. Few thought he did the most to win their vote. 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.

For Mr. Trudeau, the results suggest he largely held his own with almost all his current supporters thinking he did a good job and few potential supporters saying he did the most to turn them off. Most important, more potential Liberal supporters felt good about his performance than bad, suggesting he did what he needed to do: withstand the attacks, reassure his supporters, and contrast with Mr. Scheer among those both the Conservatives and Liberals are trying to persuade.”


Our survey was conducted online with 2,347 Canadians aged 18 and over from October 8 to 10, 2019. A random sample of panellists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.0%, 19 times out of 20.  The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

The sample of those who watched or heard about the English language debate is 1,535.


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