Who Won the VP Debate? Viewers React

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CBNNews.com - It could be the most watched vice presidential debate in history. And according to the ratings, it drew more viewers that the first presidential debate.

Click play to hear voter reactions from Alaska as they watched the debate.

Nielsen Media Research says Thursday night's vice presidential debate's early ratings were up 42 percent over presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama's first debate last week.

More specific estimates of the number of people who watched will be out later, but the research group says it could be one of the most-watched political debates.

Palin Hangs Tough

Across the country, many Americans who watched the candidates debate agreed that Republican Gov. Sarah Palin's performance exceeded what they thought would be a low performance.

But how well she did against veteran politician Democrat Sen. Joe Biden remains to be seen.

A CNN poll found respondents judging Biden the winner by a margin of 51 percent to 36 percent. But they thought Palin was more likable by 54 percent to Biden's 36 percent.

Brian Elias of Miami Beach gave Palin some kudos for her Thursday night performance.

"I thought she held her own. I'm much more impressed than I thought I'd be," said Elias, 45,a registered Republican but still undecided. "My expectation was that her performance would make it easier for me to pick Obama, but her performance kept me undecided."

Differing Opinions

But others in the same Miami Beach crowd of more than 100 saw it differently.

"She's the queen of generalities," 27-year-old Tami Toussaint, a law school graduate said of Palin. "I don't think she's a dumb person, I just think she's out of her league."

In Palin's hometown of Wasilla, tourists Bernie and Mary Ziemianek stopped in at the local bar after spotting a "Go Sarah!" banner. The Seattle couple was on vacation in Alaska.

"I like the way she talked to the people," Mary Ziemianek said of Palin's direct look into the camera when she answered questions. "I hope some day she will be president."

Even more out-of-towners had glowing reviews for Palin's performance.

"We love Wasilla and we love Sarah and we are from Tennessee so we are watching Alaska watch Sarah," Pamela Hughes said.

"She had a gram slam, she knocked him out of the park," said Marty Matvia. "I think that she answered all the tough questions, put him on his heels and got defensive, so it was a home run for us."

But Did Biden Win?

Across town at another local establishment, Obama supporters saw another thing.

"She spoke well, but her points were either lies or manipulations," said Wasilla resident Sue Gibbs.

Various blogs on Friday held the postings of viewers who said Biden was the clear winner. One viewer had this comment on MTV.com.

"Biden won!, the person wrote. "Didn't see the polls yet but I bet it was closer then anticipated. Maybe like 56 percent to 44 percent. Biden knew his facts and Palin didn't even answer questions."

Adele Beal, who watched the debate from her home in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., kept her own score between the two candidates.

She admits that by the end of the debate, Biden's score was higher, but in the end she was impressed by Palin.

"She knocked my socks off," Beale said. "If she were running. I'd vote for her for president."

One viewer posted a comment to a blog on Biden and Palin's differences on climate change on the Washington Post's Web site.

"I was undecided before the debate, and I am still undecided," the viewer wrote. "The debate was without fireworks. Watching Palin and Biden practice is much more interesting.

Sources: ABC News, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, CNN.com. MTV.com

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