The day after the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and GOP congressman Paul Ryan in Danville, Ky., insta-polls showed divided opinions on who viewers perceived to have won the face-off.
Viewers watched an aggressive and passionate Biden try to recover ground that President Barack Obama had lost in the presidential debate last week against Republican candidate Mitt Romney, but many pundits suggested that his constant smirking and eye-rolling in the face of Ryan, who remained composed and determined under pressure, might have been over the top.
A highly-cited CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Thursday night gave the victory to Ryan by four points, with 48 percent of the 381 registered voters who answered the poll expressing that they thought the congressman won the debate, while 44 percent sided with Biden.
Ryan was also judged by a 50-to-41 percent margin to have better expressed himself than Biden,
"This poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the debate and by definition cannot be an indication of how the entire American public will react to Wednesday's debate in the coming days," noted CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
Biden was more popular among uncommitted voters, a CBS News poll revealed, with 50 percent of the 431 people polled after the debate saying that they thought the VP won, compared to 31 percent who picked Ryan as the winner, and 19 percent who thought it was a tie.
CBS News made it clear that the people who responded to the poll were not only undecided voters, but also those who were leaning toward a candidate but could change their minds.
Online polls conducted by Fox News and NBC News showed that readers of each network stood on polar opposites of the "who won?" question.
Of the 31,000-plus people who responded to the Fox News poll, 91.7 percent said that Rep. Ryan won the debate – compared to 8.3 percent who favored Biden.
NBC News structured its question in a different way, asking readers: "Did the vice presidential debate do anything to influence who you will support in the election?" Of the roughly 100,000 respondents, 45.6 percent said they were now more likely to vote for President Obama and VP Biden – as many commentators pointed out, one of Biden's main objectives at the debate was to re-inspire the Obama campaign.
In the same poll, 38.4 percent said the debate made them more likely to vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket, while 16 percent said their views were unchanged.
Looking at other online polls with a large response rate, an ABC News poll gave Ryan the edge against Biden, with roughly 14,000 votes going to the GOP congressman, and the remaining 13,000 respondents siding with Biden.
More detailed polls looking at viewers' opinions in the 2-3 days immediately after the VP debate are expected to come out early next week, in anticipation of the next presidential debate between President Obama and candidate Romney on Tuesday.