My initial (biased) impressions of the debate are:
– As someone who is supporting the OLP, I’d have much preferred if Wynne had started stronger, but the first two topics were always going to be the tough ones, and I’m not sure whether I’d have done much better. I did think she recovered after that and “held the line” as it were. I don’t think she was struck with any fatal blow per se. I know on social media some people were commenting on Premier Wynne’s hand movements, but I’ve always found Ms. Wynne to be a demonstrative person; she was like that at the OLP leadership convention as well. If you’re not going to vote for her based on hand movements, you probably weren’t going to vote for her anyhow.
– Hudak came out on top, but he still came out looking swarmy and still not very likeable. I also think the statement that “he knew in his heart” his million jobs plan would work -when it’s been almost universally panned by economists and pundits alike – and then the offer to resign if it didn’t (after 8 years) may have blunted a more solid victory for him.
– Horwath had some zingers, but still didn’t seem to offer much in platform or specifics. I think she could have done a lot better.
Will this move polls? It will depend if anyone watched this debate, and when they tuned in (or tuned out), but we shall see. (Initial polling would suggest it didn’t hurt the Liberals at all; but again only one poll from a pollster I’ve had doubts about in the past)
By the way, I disliked this format – both style and length- immensely. It also managed to avoid the education topic (they took Q’s from viewers), which I would think should be a fairly prominent issue. So, I don’t know what other format I’d prefer, but definitely not this one. (There also should be more debates then then, but that’s another topic)