David Cunliffe is saying he is the underdog in the first leaders debate tonight. He is uncharacteristically being far too modest.
John Key is strong debater, with a strong grasp of policy and politics. But David Cunliffe is no David Shearer. He is a polished top debater.
He won prizes for debating and public speaking at secondary school. In fact his team won the NZ Schools Jaycee Cup. He carried on debating at Otago University (which has produced many NZ debaters) and has been an MP for 15 years.
Neither man is the underdog. They are both strong formidable debaters. Labour are trying to do the expectations game, where they declare a tie as a stunning victory.
I encourage people to watch the debate for themselves and form their own judgement about how the two men go. Don’t give much regard to reports of who was the favourite on say Twitter (very left leaning) or the Roy Morgan worm (mainly promoted on left sites).