Friday, April 15, 2011

On consensus reactions

Cyberpresse's focus group on the French debate provides plenty of interesting material. But perhaps even more noteworthy than the reaction to each leader generally (which shows Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe as the debate's winners) is the response to specific arguments which figure to be rather important to how Canadians vote on election day:
Dans le premier extrait -un échange entre Stephen Harper et Michael Ignatieff- il est question de démocratie. Le deuxième reproche au premier de tout vouloir contrôler, de ne pas respecter la démocratie. Manifestement, cet argument de Michael Ignatieff ne passe pas la rampe. Les gens se montrent automatiquement ennuyés. Vient alors la réplique de Stephen Harper, qui rétorque que les gens n'ont que faire des «chicanes entre parlementaires». La réaction des gens passe alors à l'irritation, en majeure partie.
Which signals two rather important points, at least among this particular group of respondents.

First, Michael Ignatieff didn't manage to particularly impress voters with his own shots at the Cons' record on democracy. Which likely signals why the Libs haven't managed to make much progress even as the Cons have spent much of the campaign under well-deserved fire.

But perhaps more importantly, while Ignatieff's own outrage didn't find much sympathy, Stephen Harper's condescending response - to the effect that he needs a majority in order to put a stop to the inconvenience of parlamentary debate - managed to shift the respondents' mood from boredom to outright irritation. And if that makes for a common reaction to the Cons' closing argument for the campaign, then there figures to be plenty of room for voters to seek out more positive alternatives.

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