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It was still going to be close even under the most optimistic scenario.
It is not credible that someone like Mitt would be "shell-shocked" at losing under those circumstances. The polls were tightening against him all week. The Unskewed crowd including Karl R. were bellyaching about the effect of Sandy beginning on Thurs or Fri. They knew things were turning against them.
The "Shell-Shocked" meme when rolled out did not smell right. It smelled like spin - the way it was presented. Normally, Mitt would never admit to being shell-shocked over anything even if he actually was.
Maybe you are not as close to the actual red voters out here who formed the bulk of the GOP base. These people - lower middle class to middle class whites - had been whipped into a froth. Thier rage at losing is something I have never seen before. Embarrassment and humiliation, too. I had a half-dozen un-friend me without a word simply because I am a liberal. In looking at their FB pages, they are still raging, bewildered, etc.
A good part of the rage is not Obama-centric. It is over the fact that they were so wrong - and that Americans would vote the monster they had been trained to believe obama was - and accept the extreme socialistic welfare-state he would bring.
The only way to insure that that rage did not blow-back on Mitt and the GOP was to feign utter shock themselves. If there was even a hint that they had been mis-led or that it was just another loss to the elites, the risk of blow-back was real. This analysis also fits with big donor blow-back. I can see Karl out there telling them they better be shocked at the results if the GOP wanted to see that kind of money in 2014. Anything less than shell-shocked means acceptance of a reality that spells doom for the GOP going forward.
Don't throw away your gut instincts. That is the brain processing everything it has stored that is relevant to this question.
It's hard for me not to agree. For this and other reasons I've always found 'shellshock' pretty preposterous. But other reasonable explanations don't seem to be faring any better. And as those Republican pollsters seem to have discovered, at a certain point, you need to be open to new evidence.