The Washington Times - October 8, 2012, 04:57PM

If voters are right, Paul Ryan will easily out-debate Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday.

The latest The Washington Times/Zogby Poll, released Monday, found 46 percent of voters think Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican and a master of budget details, will overwhelm Mr. Biden. Only 30 percent thought “Sheriff Joe” would triumph.

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It’s a stunning finding given that Mr. Biden served three decades in the Senate and is the incumbent vice president, while Mr. Ryan has only 12 years’ experience in the House, including one two-year term as chairman of the Budget Committee.

“Frankly, I would have expected the other way around,” said pollster John Zogby. “I mean, Joe Biden has been around forever, and he is well-liked, well thought-of.”

Going into last week’s debate, voters had predicted President Obama would handily outdo Republican nominee Mitt Romney. But the actual debate was just the opposite. Voters said Mr. Romney wowed them, while the president turned in a lackluster performance that even most Democrats said wasn’t good enough to win.

In the wake of that debate, voters are now apparently convinced the Republican ticket is better-prepared for these kinds of showdowns, Mr. Zogby said.

Indeed, those who watched last week’s debate gave the nod this week to Mr. Ryan, while those who didn’t watch or read coverage of the debate said Mr. Biden will win.

Most striking in The Times/Zogby Poll, however, were independents, who gave the pre-debate nod to Mr. Ryan, 48 percent to 24 percent.