After the first 2000 debate, which Al Gore won on substance but committed hari-kari on style, did the "dial" groups that the networks love reflect that?
By comparison, the first 2004 debate was a complete knock out for Kerry in every possible way.* Bush's debate coach considered the worst beatdown in presidential debate history as it was occuring.
* The two biggest victories in terms of just annihilating your opponents were Kerry v. Bush I in 04 and Mondale v. Reagan I in 84. Notice that neither "victor" won the ultimate prize.