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Joe Biden Commanding Stage, Leading Debate: Survey [UPDATE]

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Forty minutes into the vice-presidential debate Thursday night, Biden continues to hold the upper hand, according to an instant survey of viewers. About two thirds of the audience polled said Joe Biden was winning, while 36 percent said Paul Ryan was ahead.

The survey, conducted for HuffPost by, is dubbed a "Smartphone Town Hall" and draws on a sample of more than 300 voters from across the political spectrum. The members of the panel are watching the debate live and answering questions sent to their phones.

Clarification: Although participants for the survey were recruited from around the country, the survey was not a random sample, nor should it be considered representative of the U.S. population or debate watchers.

After focusing on foreign policy at the beginning of the debate, the candidates moved to sparring over economic issues, including Social Security and Medicare. Biden's frequent laughter and interruptions of Ryan lent to the perception that he commanded the stage. Half an hour into the debate, 69 percent of watchers said Biden was dominating the forum, compared to 31 percent who said the same of Ryan.

The panel said both candidates seemed about equally calm, with 53 percent saying Biden appeared more relaxed, and 47 percent saying Ryan seemed more so.

The clear winner of the debate so far may be Martha Raddatz. Eighty-eight percent of panelists said she was doing a good or great job as moderator.

Over The Shoulder generally focuses on large, instant focus groups for corporate clients.

A separate panel of several hundred HuffPost readers is also watching the debate live and responding to questions. Those results will be available after the debate.

Also on The Huffington Post

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