Despite what they tell everybody, it is pretty easy to see that Republicans are very worried about what will happen tonight.
So far they have come up with conspiracy theories about the mainstream media being in the tank for Obama, and they have spent most of the fall complaining that the polls are oversampling Democrats in a coordinated effort to depress Republican turn out. They are grasping at every straw they can to convince themselves that Romney still has a shot at unseating President Obama. Do they really believe in their heart of hearts that every single poll out there, especially in the crucial battleground states, is wrong?
The most recent talking point I have heard lately is that this election is exactly like the 1980 election when Ronald Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter. Yes Republicans made a comparison to Reagan, again. According to them, this is just like 1980 because the polls that year either showed Carter ahead or a that it was a very close race right up until Election Day, only to have Reagan prove the pollsters wrong and win the popular vote by 10 points and win 44 states in a landslide victory.
That would be a really good argument if it were true. Lets start with the first point of their argument about the polls being very close or having Carter with a lead. A quick look at some of the polling data over the last two to three weeks of the Reagan and Carter campaign shows a total of 28 polls. Out of those 28 polls, Reagan had a lead in 21 of them and a lead of five points or more in 15 of them. So this notion that Reagan was losing and then suddenly won by 10 is just false.
Republicans also fail to see the differing circumstances from 1980 and 2012. In 1980 unemployment was at 7.5% and rising. Inflation was out of control and President Carter's approval rating was in the mid thirties. Compare that to today where the unemployment rate is at 7.9% and falling from its peak of 10% in October of 2009, inflation is at a very low level and according to the most recent Gallup poll, President Obama's approval rating is at 52% — RCP has his average approval rating at 50%. These two elections are worlds apart.
Not only is 2012 not 1980, but the Republican version of 1980 never happened. Republicans have been distorting Reagan's ideology and presidency for over 20 years, so why not distort how he got elected?
But this is what losing campaigns do. They talk themselves into an alternate state of reality that does not exist. We saw this from Kerry supporters in 2004, from McCain supporters in 2008 and we are seeing it again today.
It is time for my Republican friends to accept reality. President Obama is in a great position to win tonight and barring an unprecedented error in 99% of the polls, he will be re-elected President of the United States (please do not let this sentence get thrown back in my face on Wednesday).