Yeah, this is (yet another) 2012 post-election analysis. But it’s based upon new reporting in the New Republic, according to Yay-hoo News:
Romney internal polls mystery deepens after New Republic report
The campaign was also convinced it had momentum in the overall election as voters headed to the polls. The Romney campaign also believed Pennsylvania was a closer race that Wisconsin, which is why Romney appeared twice in the Keystone State just before the election.
They’re calling this a mystery? That’s awfully generous to the people Romney paid since the problem is they simply ignored all the aggregate data around them. No need to bring in the Mystery Machine or Scooby Snacks, because the bottom line is Romney’s internal numbers folks got it wrong! Period. Mystery solved.
This is really nothing new. Remember 2004? Remember the Kerry camp famously celebrating prior to the polls closed? They were pouring champagne long before the night even started. That's not a far cry from Romney's insistence that he didn't write a concession speech. I can understand why Romney was so stunned on election night when he lost. He allowed himself to believe in his internal numbers more than what was happening on the outside. While Newhouse was whispering sweet-nothings in Mitt's ear, Nate Silver was eating their lunch. Perhaps future candidates will learn a lesson about internal polling methodology.
That aside, I can sum up Romney's failure in three easy points:
Pennsylvania = Fool’s Gold for Republicans.
They always chase it. They always miss it. Pennsylvania is not a red state. Yeah, the GOP got super close in 2004, but they lost it by 11 points in 2008 and 5 points this year. Also, Pennsylvania hasn’t been red since 1988. Relying on Pennsylvania for Republicans is a fool’s errand. It would be like Democrats relying on North Carolina (Obama’s 2008 victory there is the exception, not the rule).
Overstating the post-debate momentum.
Every reputable poll (read: Nate Silver) showed the momentum stopped about a week or so after the first debate. Understandably, the Romney camp was trying to keep it going, but it wasn’t there anymore.
Rob freakin’ Portman.
Had Romney selected Portman as his running mate, the electoral map might’ve looked different. This was a MAJOR swing and a miss for him, and, in my view, what really cost him a viable chance at Ohio.
Another important point that bears noting about all the electoral math is even if Romney carries Florida, Ohio and Virginia, he still loses the election 272 – 266. He needed one…more…state on top of those three swing states to win and wasn’t closer that 5 points in any of the key swing states (Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire or Wisconsin). The grim reality is the Romney campaign was more doomed by electoral math than even they knew.
And, unfortunately for Mitt Romney, it appears they really didn’t know much with their internal tracking numbers.