Spoiler: Probably Not

11.30.12

Was Romney Really Shocked to Lose?

Today's big story comes from The New Republic's Noam Scheiber:

A handful of outlets have reported that Team Romney’s internal polling showed North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia moving safely into his column and that it put him ahead in a few other swing states. When combined with Ohio, where the internal polling had him close, Romney was on track to secure all the electoral votes he needed to win the White House. The confidence in these numbers was such that Romney even passed on writing a concession speech, at least before the crotchety assignment-desk known as “reality” finally weighed in.

Less well-known, however, are the details of the polls that led Romney to believe he was so close to the presidency. Which other swing states did Romney believe he was leading in, and by how much? What did they tell him about where to spend his final hours of campaigning? Why was his team so sanguine about its own polling, even though it often parted company with the publicly available data? In an exclusive to The New Republic, a Romney aide has provided the campaign’s final internal polling numbers for six key states, along with additional breakdowns of the data, which the aide obtained from the campaign’s chief pollster, Neil Newhouse. Newhouse himself then discussed the numbers with TNR.

Then again, Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins (when not running for mayor of New York City) is reporting that a major Republican targeting expert named Alex Gage was far more pessimistic prior to the election. Considering his longstanding ties to Romneyworld, deep immersion in Republican presidential politics, and his wife's role as a Deputy Campaign Manager, it's almost a certainty that the above map made its way to Romney's desk.