According to a report from CBS News, the Romney campaign was completely caught off guard and Mitt Romney himself was "shellshocked" by his loss.
After Ohio went for Mr. Obama, it was over, but senior advisers say no one could process it.
"We went into the evening confident we had a good path to victory," said one senior adviser. "I don't think there was one person who saw this coming." [...]
"We just felt, 'where's our path?'" said a senior adviser. "There wasn't one."
Romney then said what they knew: it was over. [...]
"There's nothing worse than when you think you're going to win, and you don't," said another adviser. "It was like a sucker punch."
Prior to the election all available evidence suggested that President Obama was poised to be re-elected. The idea that Mitt Romney could win was always a long shot because his path to victory required that he perform a near sweep of the swing states where President Obama lead in nearly every poll.
Was the Romney campaign, and Mitt Romney himself, caught off guard because their own arrogance lead them to categorically discount the possibility that they could lose, or were they just as caught up in the idea that the polls were skewed as regular viewers of Fox News were?
The notion that Team Romney had no inkling that they could lose is supported by more than just the words of anonymous campaign advisers.
The Boston Globe reports that the Romney campaign even hired a company to orchestrate a fireworks display in Boston following his victory. And, ironically, Romney conceded the race shortly after their permit expired.
The same company that does some of the illuminations for Boston’s Fourth of July celebration was poised to ignite fireworks within view of Romney’s party at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center to celebrate a win over President Obama.
A permit filed with the City of Boston said the detonation could occur any time between 7 p.m. Tuesday, just after the first polls closed, and 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, which ended up being just before Romney conceded the race.
Instead, Atlas Professional Fireworks Displays unloaded the pyrotechnics from mortars set up on a barge near the Bank of America Pavilion and carted them back to its headquarters in Jaffrey, N.H.
The Romney campaign also built a presidential transition website that would have gone live immediately after declaring victory.
I think Yglesias said it best today.
I think that people underestimate how problematic it can be to walk around life being a rich guy. The problem with being rich is that everyone stops telling you what they think and starts trying to get your money. You necessarily end up living your life in a fog of flattery and misinformation. And worse, because Americans genuinely admire rich people even people who aren't flattering you tend to give undue deference to your bad ideas. Live in that bubble for long enough—and Romney's been in it for a long time indeed—and you can end up pretty unmoored from reality.
On election night I quipped that Romney took so long to concede the race because, out of fear of being bronzed, none of his advisers wanted to approach him and tell him that he lost. That may have been more accurate than I imagined in my half-drunken state, but it seems clear now that this pattern of obscuring reality gripped the Romney campaign for much of the last few months.
The decades-long Republican campaign to stupefy the electorate has finally caught up with their own campaign operatives and turned them into incompetent rubes.