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The Hamilton Spectator
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First pair of debates did little to sway voters, new poll finds
The first set of televised debates by party leaders caused hardly a ripple in voters' intentions, which remain static as Canada moves into the fourth week of a lengthy election campaign, a new poll shows.

The poll, conducted by The Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV, shows that Liberal Leader Paul Martin came out on top of the encounters, but that the debates Thursday and Friday will not likely mark a turning point in the campaign.

Twenty-one per cent of those who saw the debates or heard about them afterward said Mr. Martin won, compared to 15 per cent who said Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe came out on top, 11 per cent who thought Conservative Leader Stephen Harper was victorious and 6 per cent who favoured NDP Leader Jack Layton.

Still, 47 per cent of those surveyed couldn't decide who was the victor and only 4 per cent said they heard anything that would cause them to change their votes.

The debate had no impact," said Tim Woolstencroft, managing partner of The Strategic Counsel. "It was a big yawn."

With Christmas parties on the agenda across the country, the number of people who actually watched the debates was relatively low -- 38 per cent of those polled said they tuned in. Of those who didn't watch, about 41 per cent read or heard about them afterward. Source.

December 17, 2005