Chalk this one up to Phil Goff - and not by a small margin.
The Labour leader grabbed control of the debate from early on. John Key was as solid as ever. Goff, however, lit the blow-torch.
The heat went on Key. He did not flinch. But he was forced to defend, defend, defend ... and defend.
Neither was Key's cause assisted by the debate's topics, particularly the lengthy amount of time devoted to discussing what National had done to help the "underclass".
What was both noticeable and notable was that Goff had shifted up a gear or two from the One News debate during the first week of the campaign. He was more assured, confident, focused and relaxed. He looked dangerously prime ministerial.
The "worm" thought likewise. But then this measure of the reactions of the studio audience of 65 supposedly uncommitted voters liked everything Goff said and hated everything Key said. It simply did not ring true. Just how uncommitted were these voters?
The worm was the big loser on the night. It was worse than useless.By John Armstrong Email John