English debate’s viewership gets hefty boost over 2008
“Ratings monitor BBM Canada said that 3.85 million viewers watched the debate Tuesday night, an increase of 26 per cent compared with 2008’s showdown. The number jumped to 10.6 million viewers once those who only watched a portion of the debate were included.”
The question is who are these viewers? Are they the already entrenched partisans of each party combined with the usual political junkies, pundits, and journalists — the usual suspects — or are they that cabal in combination with the undecided and the uncommitted? It would be intriguing to think the latter, and the 10.6 figure for those who only watched a portion does indeed suggests a fairly substantial level of interest if not engagement. If we take these numbers, then, as a postive trend towards engagement and thus, as a result, a potentially larger voter turnout and link them to the large increase in Twitter traffic on the election and to the Rick Mercer energized votemob initiative expanding every day, we may indeed have a radically different election than 2008. The result may surprise us.
The second question, then, is who gains from this increased matrix of activity if it’s real? We can’t be absolutely certain it’s Harper, who is obviously counting primarily, as many have pointed out, on his base, targeted ridings, and of course voter apathy or indifference to get him his coveted majority, though at least some of the undecided will swing his way. But countering that movement is the expanding votemob crowd, which I strongly suspect is not travelling in the direction of the Harperites, the increasing number of whack the Harperites websites and videos, and, not least, the extremely pumped Green supporters since Elzabeth May’s exclusion from the debates who numbers are also expanding.
But the last question remains the very first one everyone asked: has either debate make a difference, changed anything, or were they just a little stop on the way?
Twitter traffic 'erupted' during leaders' debate
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