Because I have such strong feelings on the people involved I do not always trust my own instincts on debates. Sometimes I am much harder on my own ‘side’ than other people. Other times I think they are doing better because I know the other side is speaking crap, but the public doesn’t see it that way.
There was a clear consensus that Brash did not do well in the TV3 debate. Radio NZ was much closer. Those listening on the radio felt it was around 55% Clark to 45% Brash while those who were there scored it a bit stronger for Clark.
The TV One debate though was fascinating. Certainly the PM dominated in terms of speaking time and getting her lines away. But I am picking up a lot (and I mean a lot) of negative reaction to her behaviour. And after a slow start, Brash seemed to really hit his stride as he sucessfully got across the point that National will increase government spending by an average $1.5 billion a year and deliver tax cuts.
Vernon Small and Tracy Watkins declare Brash a narrow winner on the night. Also Colin Espiner gives it to Brash on points. Now unless one is addicted to ‘P’, no-one would label Vernon, Tracy and Colin as stooges of the new right, so their assessment is pretty credible.
Also well done to Mark Sainsbury for actually letting the Leaders debate each other. It was very welcome.
UPDATE: Adam Hamilton was in the audience and blogs his views. It seems that they were told not to interject, but alas about as much effect as King Canute.