Clearly Republicans were upset by Romney’s loss, but was the result a true upset? Was it truly that surprising that Obama won? There are many stories out there about how shocked Romney was to lose, but should he have been surprised?
I was worried about the possibility that Obama might not win, but I never really thought he would lose. Even after the first debate debacle, I clung to my belief that Obama would pull it out. One of the reasons I kept the faith was because I was watching the swing state polls. At no point did it look like Romney could amass the required 270 electoral college votes.
Huffington Post aggregated all of the polls, and came up with predictions that matched the results. These results are still available for anyone to see, just like they were available for the Romney campaign on election day. Here is what they reported based on polls for each of the swing states:
Ohio: 49% Obama, 46% Romney, 100% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual: 50% – 48%]
Wisconsin: 50% Obama, 46% Romney, 100% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual: 53% – 46%]
Nevada: 50% Obama, 47% Romney, 99% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 52% – 46%]
Iowa: 49% Obama, 46% Romney, 97% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 52% – 46%]
New Hampshire: 49% Obama, 47% Romney, 97% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 52% – 46%]
Virginia: 49% Obama, 47% Romney, 95% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 51% – 48%]
Colorado: 49% Obama, 47% Romney, 92% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 51% – 47%]
Florida: 48% Obama, 48% Romney, 53% confidence of Obama lead. [Actual 50% – 49%]
North Carolina: 47% Obama, 49% Romney, 89% confidence of Romney lead. [Actual 48% – 51%]
One of Romney’s problems is that his campaign probably believed the hype that the mainstream polls were skewed, and they were probably looking at pollsters like Rasmussen. Here’s are state’s where Rasmussen had Romney ahead on the eve of the election:
Florida: Romney 50% to 48%
Virginia: Romney 50% to 48%
Iowa: Romney 49% to 48%
Colorado: Romney 50% to 47%
New Hampshire: Romney 50% to 48%
Those states control 61 electoral votes, so even if Romney thought he was going to win those, he still wouldn’t win the election without Ohio. Rasmussen had Ohio tied, so even looking at the right-leaning polls of Rasmussen, it should not have been that big of a surprise to Romney that he lost.
I think Republicans’ shock is symptomatic of a bigger problem. For years conservatives have responded to inconvenient truths with denial. With their resources, they have been able to fund radio personalities, think tanks, and cable networks all to promote a world view that denies the parts of reality that they don’t like. Republicans were foolish enough to believe their own sales pitch.