A watershed of analysis is coming down on last night's leaders' debate. Nearly all agree that all four candidates pulled off strong performances, and most also believe that Marois failed to handle the looming referendum question.
Here is a round-up of how some saw the winners and losers:
One of paper's most regarded political analysts, Michel David, says of the four leaders, it was Francois Legault who best managed the debate. "The CAQ leader has always had a gift for a powerful form and killer lines," he says, however he beleives his shots may benefit the Liberals. David criticizes Marois for not being able to circumvent questions about a referendum.
Journal de Montreal
One of Quebecor's most prominent commentator, Richard Martineau, gives the debate to Francois Legault. "He was the strongest fighter, and sent his adversaries to the ropes!" he says. He also says that Couillard debated well.
National-level columnist Chantal Hébert does not name a winner, but says the idea that the Liberals could form the next government can not be set aside after last night's debate. She says Marois experienced several difficult moments, including questions over Pierre Karl Peladeau's conflict of interest issues, a referendum, and the charter, which was criticized by all three of her adversaries. Hébert says David succeeeded in guarding off against the Parti Quebecois' attempts to get sovereigntists to rally to its side.
Vincent Marissal says the debate was a draw. He says all four leaders carried themselves well. Marois was solid, although at times she looked irritated. He says her quip about Fatima Houda-Pepin was well delivered.
Alain Dubuc - Philippe Couillard
François Cardinal - Françoise David
Michel Hébert - Philippe Couillard
Don McPherson -Philippe Couillard