Internal Polls: Why Romney Thought He Would Win

Internal Polls: Why Romney Thought He Would Win

Romney thought he would win come election night. Romney felt so certain that he wrote a victory speech but not a concession speech. But why did Romney think he would win? According to The New Republic, Team Romney’s internal polling data showed North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia as reasonably certain electoral vote victories and even put him ahead in a few other swing states including Ohio.

The Romney campaign’s chief pollster Neil Newhouse explains that the mistake the Romney campaign made was to track potential Romney votes against Obama primarily with people most interested in the election, and thus assumed most likely to be among the 57.5 percent of eligible voters who bothered to vote. What they did not calculate for was that these most enthusiastic voters turned out to be a smaller share of the electorate than they predicted.

“I’m not sure what the answer is,” Newhouse said. “The only ones we had that really seemed to be off were Colorado—a state that even Obama’s people tweeted they thought it was going to be one of their closest states—and the New Hampshire numbers, which seemed to bounce a lot during the campaign.”

Their internal calculations predicted that Romney could count on 267 electoral votes. The real question mark at the end was supposedly going to be Ohio, which Team Romney thought Obama was winning by 2 percentage points. But they figured that the supposed momentum Romney had accrued from the presidential debates would carry the day.

“We thought we had in the last 72 hours of campaign,” Newhouse said, “made up some ground from the challenging messaging period during the hurricane.”

This momentum turned out to only exist in the imagination. One Democratic pollster The New Republic spoke with offered the following hypothesis:

“During the final days of this campaign, only the most loyal partisans were picking up their phones when pollsters called—everyone else seemed to have had enough. (The pollster notes that this isn’t a general feature of campaigns; it just happened to be true of this one.)”

Newhouse doesn’t buy that explanation but can’t explain why they got it so wrong, either.

Why Romney thought he would win is an interesting question. Personally, I think they might have even considered the fact that coming up to the 2012 elections 37.6 percent of the US population considered themselves Republican while 33.3 percent were Democrat. So it’s just a matter of Romney convincing independents and getting out the vote, right? Yet six percent Democrats more than Republicans voted, showing just how enthusiastic Republican were for Mitt Romney.