Sarah Palin did fine and may have even "won" by exceeding expectations. She was likeable, she was lookable, but I don't think she was wildly persuasive on substance. It was clear that they bought into the "Let Palin be Palin" argument, because she played to her strenghts: folksiness,"adorability" as the Luntz panel guy put it, Joe Six Pack and the Hockey Moms. She displayed knowledge in areas where she was not expected to and whenever she was asked a question where Biden was clearly better informed she capably steered the conversation back to things she did know -- Alaska, personal anecdotes, energy policy, arguments about Democratic tax increases.
Joe Biden avoided putting his foot in his mouth, was well informed and crisp if occasionally to Washington-wonkish, and struck the right balance in terms of challenging Palin without bullying or patronizing her. He was a little flat in the beginning but picked up steam as he went along. But the expectations game did not favor him.