In the few interviews Sarah Palin has given, she very frequently ends up in a state of shocking silence, completely unable to answer the question before her. That didn't happen last night, so it was pronounced that she "beat expectations" The fact that these "expectations" were so low as to defy any sense didn't come up. She didn't actually answer any of the questions asked. She has a collection of talking points rattling around in her head, and each time it was her turn some random combination came rattling out. Sometimes it was on topic, sometimes not so much. Asked about the bailout, a energy talking point came out. Asked about Darfur, she said nonsense about not knowing the ways of Washington. The lack of follow-up questions is what saved her. If the format had allowed for follow-up questions, it would have made clear that not only didn't she know what policy to have in Darfur, she has no idea who, what or where Darfur is. When Biden declared that the GOP energy policy was nothing but "Drill, Drill, Drill" she replied that the policy was, in fact, "Drill, Baby, Drill" Zing!
As for Biden, he answered the damn question and answered it well. Not too much talking and no miscues.
All the post-debate polls are giving it Biden by a large margin. There are real limits to the expectations game.