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US presidential election

Early estimates give debate to Biden but Palin unscathed

Article published on the 2008-10-03 Latest update 2008-10-03 14:24 TU

Sarah Palin greets  Joe Biden prior to their vice presidential debate(Photo: Reuters)

Sarah Palin greets Joe Biden prior to their vice presidential debate
(Photo: Reuters)

The debate between the Democratic and Republican vice-presidential candidates for the US presidential election produced little drama. Both candidates came through without making any major errors but some snap polling by US television channels suggested Democrat Joe Biden had taken the contest ahead of Republican Sarah Palin.

Washington correspondent Dick Rossé says that a record number of viewers tuned in to follow the debate which contained "no surprises and very little drama".

"Palin succeeded in holding her own, fielding most of the questions with ease and with apparent confidence" he told RFI.

While Palin's nomination boosted the Republicans in opinion polls, Democrat Barack Obama seems to be pulling ahead since the start of the financial crisis, says British analyst Michael Cox.

"All the indicators we’re getting from the swing states … are that Obama is beginning to move ahead and move ahead across the board," he told RFI. "So it would seem that she’s not making a difference to independent voters."

Analysis: Michael Cox at the London School of Economics

03/10/2008 by Anustup Roy

Early post-debate surveys by US media groups suggested Joe Biden had come out of Thursday evening's debate ahead of his adversary Sarah Palin.

The CNN TV channel said 51 per cent of those polled thought he had won, against 36 per cent siding with Palin. A separate CBS asked "uncommitted voters" who had done better after the head-to-head with 46 per cent saying Biden and 21 per cent more impressed with Palin.

Palin came out of the encounter relatively unscathed, despite suggestons that her credentials were not up to the task of being the running mate of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

She attacked the track record of the Democratic candidate Barack Obama while arguing that her candidate was "a maverick" and warning against the tax policies of the Democrat Party.

Biden avoided any questioning of the experience of the Republican vice-presidential nominee and concentrated on policy. He attacked the fiscal projects of the Republican ticket and claimed there was no difference between the current Bush administration and John McCain as regards foreign policy.