But I just missed one poll. For the hundreds if not thousands of strategists, pollsters, ad experts, get-out-the-vote geniuses, paid pundits and general D.C. hucksters who make big bucks off these efforts, it was a much bigger miscalculation.
Let's start with what was not wrong: Mitt Romney. For this moment in time, the GOP had a very strong nominee. He looked good, spoke intelligently, avoided huge gaffes, had experience and a great family, was an expert at organization and worked tirelessly. His job is finished, and his personal performance has to be graded an "A."
As for the "establishment" of highly paid and omnipresent professional GOP campaign types, the grade is not so high. Here is a list of "asphalts" they must admit to.
One: They likely should have steered Romney toward Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as his running mate. He would have helped with the all-important Hispanic/Latino vote and could have actually delivered Florida, thus freeing up time and resources to win other battleground states.
Two: They probably should have taken the entire incident in Benghazi and turned it into what it was -- a national disgrace. That was an issue that could have survived the attention-grabbing nature of Superstorm Sandy, a last jobs report that sounded oh-so-rosy and more rape/abortion antics from Republican Senate candidates with just days to go before the election.
Three: In the primary, they should have avoided the temptation to take an extremist position on immigration just to outflank some other GOP candidates' more reasonable approach. It left Romney pinned against an increasingly important Hispanic/Latino vote with a position that really did not match his reasonable approach to issues in the past.
Yes, this is all second-guessing, and for every strategic or tactical move the GOP leaders made in the wrong direction, they made some really smart ones, as well.
But the Obama camp taught us that turnout is now a matter of identifying voters and their interests one by one and getting them to the polls through the new world of social media. The idea of evangelical leaders or newly minted conservative groups delivering the requisite numbers to the polls now belongs to the ages -- as does the memory of Reagan's great victory of 1980.