The Internal Polls That Made Mitt Romney Think He'd Win: It’s no secret that the Romney campaign believed it was headed for victory on Election Day…. The confidence… was such that Romney even passed on writing a concession speech…. Less well-known, however, are the details of the polls that led Romney to believe…. In New Hampshire, the final internal polling average has Romney up 3.5 points, whereas he lost by 5.6. In Colorado, the final internal polling average has Romney up 2.5 points; he lost by 5.4…. Set aside Florida and Virginia, for which I don’t have internal poll numbers, but which the campaign apparently believed it was poised to win…. [T]he Iowa number… showing the race tied even though Romney ended up losing by almost 6 points…. Together, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Iowa go most of the way toward explaining why the Romney campaign believed it was so well-positioned. When combined with North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia—the trio of states the Romney campaign assumed were largely in the bag—Romney would bank 267 electoral votes, only three shy of the magic number.
Furthermore, according to Newhouse, the campaign’s final internal polls had Romney down a mere two points in Ohio--a state that would have put him comfortably over the top--and Team Romney generally believed it had momentum…. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota are also of interest. Although internal campaign numbers for these states are much closer to the actual results… they at the very least reflect a flaw in the campaign’s assumption that undecided voters would break Romney’s way. If the internal polls are correct, roughly 80 percent of undecided voters actually broke toward Obama….
In retrospect, of course, there wasn’t any momentum to speak of, at least not toward Romney. How is it that Newhouse’s polls detected momentum nonetheless?… When pressed on why many of his final numbers showed an erroneous uptick for Romney, he offered that “it may be a function of Sunday polling”—a valid concern given that many pollsters are wary of polling on weekends.
Whatever the case, it’s clear that Romney’s closest aides and confidants interpreted the numbers quite literally. One Romney aide told me that he ran into Tagg Romney, the candidate’s eldest son, as the results came in on election night. “He looked like he was in a complete state of shock,” the aide said. “[As if] these numbers cannot be real.”
Mitt Romney Would Have Been a Terrible President: The Romney people were not just ignoring the Nate Silvers of the world, who were nearly certain that Obama would win--they were ignoring the Joe Scarboroughs of the world, who said that Romney might win but the race was a toss-up. And they were doing this even though their cockeyed-optimist numbers didn't point to a sure win…. They were 100% certain they'd win because they were "only three [electoral votes] shy"! Close, I guess, counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and GOP campaigns. I think I've said this before, but this is the kind of hubris that leads to Iraq-style quagmires: you believe everything that confirms your worldview and disbelieve everything that doesn't; you get pleasing data stovepiped to yourself, draw conclusions you like, then bump those conclusions even more in your own deluded head.