According to polling carried out for Fairfax and reported on Stuff this morning, voters overwhelmingly believe that the tea party conversation should remain confidential and they back Mr Key over the media.
Political commentators are now being forced to shift their positions as they realise Mr Key was right and they were wrong.
I think I was the first to do a 180-degree u-turn.
When Mr Key stormed out of his press conference on Wednesday, I thought he had made a major mistake.
By the time it came to writing my NBR column on Thursday morning, published in the print edition yesterday, I had thought more about it and obtained some additional information. The column was called "Key survives his storm in a teacup" and that also informed my iPredict Election 2011 comments.
Hooton then refers to NZ Herald political report John Armstrong, who is in the midst of a significant metamorphisis; read on:
John Armstrong in the Herald is going a similar process.
This morning, its all different: the week just gone was "the best and the worst" for Mr Key. John now clearly sees that "public opinion has clearly swung in behind him in his quest to defend [Mr Key's] right to privacy".
We've read Armstrong's piece of this morning, and it's bizarre and most un-Armstrong-like. On one hand he lauds John Key for his stand against the media; on the other he criticises him for refusing to answer questions, which is precisely why public support has swung behind him. Obviously, Armstrong is probably a column away from a full mea cupla!
The genius of Mr Key's strategy is why another senior political figure is also pleading for the election debate to return to other issues.
Poor old Phil Goff has at least as good overnight polling data from top multinational polling company UMR Research as Mr Key has from local Wellington firm Curia and Fairfax has from Research International.
Mr Goff will be getting very similar data as Mr Key and knows that the teapot scandal has actually helped National and hurt Labour - because National is on the right side of public opinion and Labour has sadly been crowded out.
And there's time for one more mea culpa as Hooton concludes; and it's a conclusion with which we wholeheartedly agree:
If you ever wondered why John Key is Prime Minister and John Armstrong, Vernon Small, me and Phil Goff never will be, this week's events mean you don't have to wonder again. He was right and we (at least initially) were all wrong.
Quite so Matthew Hooton. Because John Key isn't tainted with the baggage of decades in the cloistered environment of Parliament, he's re-writing the play-book. He can't be pigeon-holed at the moment, and that is causing the media and his seasoned political opponents no end of angst.