As with the presidential debate, I will be following very closely the public reaction to the BIden-Ryan debate on Thursday night, as judged by polls and other measures. Also, here is NYT fact-check site.

As for the pundits and cable channels: MSNBC predictably big for Biden, Fox even more so for Ryan—with one analyst after another hitting Biden for his “demeanor” and “buffoonery.” Karl Rove tweeted that Biden was “unhinged.” Many analysts at CNN said Ryan “held his own.” Gloria Borger somehow called Ryan “fluent” in foreign policy. This despite the fact that Biden, like Clint Eastwood, was talking to an empty chair all night.

Now to what really matters, the polls: The key “instant poll” from CBS, among 500 undecided voters, Biden wins 50 percent to 31 percent. (Romney had won easily last week.) Asked whom they could relate to, Biden won; he also was seen as more ready to be president. Some 85 percent said Biden knowledgeable and 75 percent said the same of Ryan.

CNN/ORC instant poll of registered voters gives Ryan the win by 48 percent–44 percent. But only 381 surveyed, so a high 5 percent margin of error. CNN called it a draw. I had warned during debate Ryan would do better than you might think, since he was getting killed on substance, due to Biden’s “laughing” etc. Yes, GOPers and Fox going overboard on that, but did affect folks in middle.

[[UPDATE: CNN on their site just admitted that the sample for their poll was “a debate audience that was more Republican than the country.” Sample was 33 percent GOP and 31 percent Dem. CNN spokesman: “That indicates that the sample of debate watchers is more Republican than an average of recent CNN polls of all Americans.”  They revealed last week—also belatedly—that their sample was similarly skewed but few paid attention because of Romney's wide margin of victory.  Note: all major national polls always sample a few more Democrats because they do top Repubs in registration numbers. ]]

Detail from CNN poll: “Who Was More Likeable? Ryan 53 percent Biden 43 percent.” “Who Was More In Touch With Problems of People Like You? Ryan 51 percent, Biden 44 percent.”

A CNBC poll that Romney and right-wingers are touting is a totally unscientific online voting poll. Quite laughable. Here’s Nate Silver’s analysis of the polls.

Note: If you’re a campaign nut, check out my award-winning book, The Campaign of the Century. Featured on NPR this week and at The New Yorker last month.

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For more post-debate analysis, read John Nichols on Paul Ryan's biggest blunder