Election Poll: French Language Debate a Setback for the Conservatives

Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson

In our latest nationwide survey, we asked francophone respondents in Quebec some questions about the leaders’ debate held in French last week.

Here’s what we found (based on 373 interviews with francophone respondents in Quebec):


14% said they watched the whole debate, 27% some of it, and another 37% heard about it from other people.


A majority of respondents felt the leaders of the Liberal (56%), BQ (55%) and New Democratic (53%) parties made a positive impression during the course of the debate.  Few felt that Blanchet (14%), Singh (15%), or Trudeau (20%) left negative impressions.   In contrast, 21% felt Andrew Scheer made a positive impression and 55% said he left a negative impression.


Asked which one leader did the most to win their votes, we found a tie between Justin Trudeau (30%) and Yves-Francois Blanchet (30%) followed by Jagmeet Singh (14%) and Andrew Scheer last at 10%.


Asked which one leader did the most to turn them away, Andrew Scheer led (36%) followed by Justin Trudeau (26%), Yves-Francois Blanchet (13%), and Jagmeet Singh (8%).


According to Bruce Anderson: “Heading into Monday’s debate, all leaders have a lot at stake.  The public is beginning to focus on the campaign and the results from the Quebec debate will raise the pressure on Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to rebound from a performance that probably set his party back in Quebec.

For Mr. Trudeau, the stakes remain very high, as his party is locked into a tight battle with the Conservatives in many parts of the country – a good performance can add some momentum at a crucial moment in the campaign.

But the stage on Monday will be more crowded, with two additional leaders (Elizabeth May and Maxime Bernier) vying for a share of voice in this campaign. How those dynamics unfold is impossible to predict, but likely to be material.  Ms. May will be looking to help reignite sagging Green Party support, and this may be the only chance for Maxime Bernier to pitch Conservative voters to mark a ballot for him and not Andrew Scheer.  Mr. Scheer will need to find a way to be back on the offensive, after several days where the focus was on him, and was largely unflattering.  “

According to David Coletto: “Based on people’s reaction to the debate, Andrew Scheer did not have a good night. Mr. Blanchet and Mr. Trudeau can split the spoils of victory. Mr. Singh performed well and francophones responded favourably to what they saw, but it may not be enough to boost NDP fortunes in Quebec.”

How do we know what issues might be key in an election? An explainer with my friends from @CPAC_TV #elxn43 pic.twitter.com/QxkhqTHTEx

— David Coletto (@Colettod) October 5, 2019


Our survey was conducted online with 373 francophone Canadians aged 18 and over from October 3 to 5, 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 +/- 5.0%, 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.


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