Forget the (potentially biased) small sample debate reaction thermometer - "the worm". Here's Google's alternative: total search traffic over the last year. The chart shows New Zealand search volumes for National (or the party Leader's name, or the Deputy Leader's name), Labour (or the Leader or Deputy), the Greens (or either Co-Leader), and ACT (or Brash or Banks). "Election" is included as a benchmark for overall election interest.
Let's zoom in on the last month:
What do we see? Almost as much Google traffic on "National Party" as on "Election"; the Greens overtaking Labour in search traffic, though not by as much as in prior elections; and, ACT trailing, though not by as much as I'd expected.
The regional breakdowns are fun too, but not easily embedded. More grist for trading at iPredict. Or, at least it would be if they provided real-time traffic data.