Debate polls

DEBATE POLLS…. Everyone who watched last night’s debate came to their own conclusions about the candidates’ performances, but there’s that other question to consider: what did everyone else think?

Reiterating a point from last week, snap-polls aren’t the most reliable measurements, but for those of us anxious for data, the surveys at least offer a guide to public opinion.

CBS News polled undecided voters, 46% of whom thought Biden won, while 33% thought it was a tie, and 21% thought Palin won. Palin got a boost on the question about whether she’s “knowledgeable about important issues” — after the debate, 66% of undecideds said she is — but Biden did far better, with 98% seeing him as knowledgeable.

CNN conducted a quick national poll and found that 51% of debate viewers thought Biden did the best, while 36% thought Palin did the best. The CNN poll also found that 64% thought Biden did better than expected, while Palin exceeded very low expectations — 84% said she did better than expected.

But expectations aside, Palin may not have done too much to help her own cause — before the debate, 54% said she’s not qualified to be the vice president. After the debate, 53% said she’s still not qualified to be the vice president.

CNN also ran a viewer response line for uncommitted voters in Ohio, and Biden did very well with this group.

Frank Luntz’s focus group seemed to think Palin did very well, but I have no idea which debate the focus group members were watching.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.