I'm sure one of the pollsters will conduct a quickie poll to ask voters who they thought did the best in the debate, but again, gauging the real effect is almost impossible.
One has to consider the fact that those who watch the debate are politically inclined, most tune-in to see how their preferred candidate performs.
At any rate, there's a Canadiens hockey game on TV tonight and the start of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, so right off the bat, over a million Quebec sports fans will choose not to watch the debate.
One really has to ask about the wisdom of scheduling such a debate on such a packed sports night. It's not as if the schedule wasn't known beforehand.
Aside from that, the popular On connaît la chanson show (a Don’t Forget the Lyrics knockoff) usually pulls in about a million viewers, so it's hard to predict just how many will be watching the leaders.
At any rate, here's my suggestions as to what each leader should look to achieve, their talking points and their lines of attack and defence.
After a shocking poll that put the PQ 5% behind the Liberals, Pauline Marois finds herself for the first time in a very long time, obliged to play catch-up.
She tried to turn the election debate away from the toxic issue of referendums by attacking Philippe Couillard's ethics yesterday which turned into a fiasco as Couillard came out swinging with an ominous warning that he would bring up the issue of the infamous 'deal' that her husband, Claude Blanchet allegedly entered into with the FTQ, to influence the PQ's position on the calling of an embarrassing inquiry into the construction industry.
It was a masterful counter-punch by Couillard, one that thoroughly shocked and frightened Marois, so much so that another PQ stalwart accused him of bullying the Premier.
That actually made things worse, the idea that a Premier could be bullied so easily, not a great reputation builder.
For Pauline, it would be suicide to enter into an ethics debate, so look for Pauline to heed the Liberal leader's warning.
For Pauline it's important to stress that a PQ government will protect Quebec values and the Quebec model, the old standby of the equality of the sexes, support for unions and the protection of the French language and culture.
She needs to tell the big whopper that the PQ is interested in and capable of creating jobs and balancing the budget.
She should actually avoid attacks on other parties and leaders, and take the high road as much as possible.
As for the issue of referendums, which will come up no matter what, she's got to assure voters that a referendum can only be considered when the economy is improved and the budget balanced and the debt under control. (In other words......never.)
The Liberal leader needs to consolidate his position as a legitimate alternative to the PQ and should avoid harsh personal attacks on Marois, something that would be unseemly in the eyes of the voters.
Despite modern conventions of equality between the sexes, nobody likes to see a man harsh up or denigrate a woman in public. Yup..there I said it.
For Couillard it's important to defuse the Charter of Values debate by assuring voters that the Liberals have a kinder and gentler version which they will proffer, a compromise which tackles the issue with compassion, one where nobody will lose their job and where religion and heritage will be respected. He should underline that under a Liberal government, the heritage of Quebec society will be respected and protected and that specifically, the crucifix in the National Assembly will be maintained.
This differs from the PQ policy of putting the issue of the crucifix to a free vote, something most voters don't want.
If I was his handler, I would tell him to assure voters that the Cross on Mount Royal and the Christian place names that makeup over 10% of streets, hospitals and schools will be protected under a new patrimony bill, created by the Liberals specifically to protect those
This position will be something that the voters will eat up and can help take the wind out of the sails of the PQ, which up to now has had a monopoly on the issue.
Like Marois, Couillard should ignore attacks and stake out his position calmly and confidently, displaying a serene and honourable demeanour, something Quebecers admire and appreciate.
Certainly Legault is in the worst position, stuck in the middle with no clear policy or agenda that separates him and his party from the others.
For him, it's a case of trying to save the bacon and hold off an election wipeout. I'm not sure he can do it at all, certainly not in a debate.
Perhaps the best line of attack is to ask voters not to give either the Liberals or the PQ a majority government, because should one or the other win a majority, it would mean a radical federalist or sovereigntist agenda being rammed down Quebecers throats, something that they don't want and isn't in the province's best interest.
Being ambiguous may actually be exactly what most Quebecers really want, even if they don't know it.
Legault's task is to legitimize that idea and champion the cause.
A middle position, in this respect can be portrayed as balanced and nuanced, one that can serve all Quebecers.
So stressing the theme that giving Couillard or Marois free rein for four or five years in a majority government is dangerous can actually be a successful strategy.
It's a long shot, but it's his only hope.
Last debate, it was Françoise David that actually earned the most plaudits from viewers with her serene and impassioned defence of social issues.
All she needs to do is a carbon copy performance, inviting voters to express their social conscious and solidarity for the poor and underprivileged.
Selling pie in the sky can be effective with voters if they can be made to feel that their vote is an important message to the ruling class.
Calm, serene and ladylike are the watchwords. David has an exceptional speaking style, confidence oozes and her very deliberate and SLOW speech actually quite riveting.
She will no doubt be the most sympathetic of all the leaders and her goal is to convince just a few more to take the leap and vote for Shangrila, a pipe dream, but a dream just the same.
There it is, my view of the debate. How will it play out and how it will affect the actual vote remains to be seen.
I'll be back on late Friday or early Saturday with my take on the debate,