We don't know yet who won the debate. Yes, yes, you can have the pundits' opinion on CBC or CTV, but the real test will be to see how the polls change after the debates. In the mean time, we have a poll from Ipsos where we can compare the before/after on a lot of questions.
It's almost all bad news for the Liberals and Ignatieff. For almost every question, he remained stable or even worsed his position versus Harper and even Layton. Yes he does improve on some questions, but so does everybody else as the "don't know" category shrinks after watching the debate. Layton improved much more than Ignatieff on some key issues such as "who has the best policies for Healthcare".
55% said their opinion of Layton improved and only 14% said it worsened. For Harper and Ignatieff, these numbers are respectively 36/33 and 40/40.
So as I've said, bad news for Ignatieff so far. Not only didn't he close the gap with Harper, but there is even the possibility that Layton and the NDP will steal some of his votes. That would kind of reverse the trend observed during the first two weeks, where the Conservatives were consistently at 40%, and the Liberals managed to climb from being in the mid-20's to the high-20's/low 30's by taking some votes from the NDP, especially in Ontario. As far as preventing a Tories majority, this is obviously not the best solution.
There is also this poll showing that Harper is seen as having won the debate for 37%, as compared to only 21% for the Liberals. Also, if you go on National Post and Globe and Mail, if you look at their respective polls, you see Harper winning largely on the NP (duh!), but also on the Globe and Mail. I posted a new poll on the right, so we'll see if my readers are different from the general population ;-)
Finally, I would say these polls are consistent with what I thought when watching the debate. I thought Harper did a pretty good job while Ignatieff, except during a 5 minutes about the democratic institutions, was a little bit weak and should have talked more about his policies and less about the contempt to Parliament. And I thought Layton attacked when he had to. As for Duceppe, I didn't have any problem understanding him (as opposed to a lot of the comments I've seen on Twitter or on my facebook wall), but hey, I have a french accent, so that helped me probably lol
As I've said, we'll wait and see. By Friday, we'll likely have a few polls conducted after the debate and be able to evaluate if it had any impact at all.