Did Kathleen Wynne win the final debate? Probably

We are a few days after the third and final debate and we have our first poll from Innovative (Mainstreet said they won't ask the question). And the data is remarkably similar to my fun, non-scientific Twitter poll! Judge for yourself:



My Twitter poll:


Note: at the moment of writing this article, my poll was showing 27-16-34. Just in case the Russian bots are trying to change the results!

Ok, so past the fun coincidence, the Innovative numbers suggest Wynne most likely won the debate. She did especially well among people who (said/pretended) to have watched the entire debate while Horwath does better among those who watched some of it.

As usual, the problem with simply asking people who they think won is that people are biased. Conservative voters are much more likely to say Ford won for instance.

That's why I always do the debate index where I simply calculate the ratio of the percentage of people saying one leader won over the percentage of people saying they want to vote for that party. An index of 1 means you convinced your base and you likely won't win or lose votes post-debate. An index over 1 is usually associated with a rise in the polls in the next few days.

Without further ado, here's the debate index for the third and final Ontario debate:



So Wynne clearly won. To be fair, it's easier to do well in this index when your party is barely at 20%. Still, an index of 1.81 is quite high and similar to what Horwath got for the first debate.

So, can we expect a late rebound from the Liberals? Maybe. The Mainstreet tracker today kinda showed that but other polls haven't. Also, if the index is right and predictive, the Liberals gains should come at the expense of Ford and the PC. We'll see.

Personally I don't think this debate will have a dramatic effect on voting intentions. Ford's performance most likely means a last minute rebound to 40% for the PC is unlikely (or wouldn't have been caused by the debate) while Wynne might have prevented a last minute collapse.

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