It is just as we expected: pollsters suck.
The final count of Obama's win appears to be about 6% (though some precinct counts are still coming in, they shouldn't affect the overall outcome much). Newsmax compiles the final predictions of a bunch of major polls, and most of them were way off. Of the fourteen polls mentioned, five of them missed by at least the margin of error, and only two actually predicted the correct margin (Rasmussen and Pew). Some analysis from Newsmax:
Tuesday's presidential election was a sharp setback not only for the GOP but also for major national pollsters who saw their gloom-and-doom predictions of a double-digit drubbing of John McCain blow up in their faces.
Many pollsters predicted the McCain-Palin ticket would lose by almost twice the actual margin.
Some GOP pundits, pointing to polling errors that favored Democrats in 2000 and 2004, warned before the election that the Obama campaign was using inflated polls numbers to make the election's outcome appear inevitable, dampening enthusiasm and support for McCain in the closing days of the campaign, and reducing GOP voter turnout.
Let's all remember this when the next election rolls around, okay? Let's not jump at the hype, and let's really not let the media and polls deflate turnout with predictions of another landslide! And, just to put things into context, six points is hardly a landslide. Lest anyone start talking about a mandate (which is inevitable), just remember there were almost 60 million people who said no to what Barack Obama promised. That's a lot of people!
If we forget the mistakes of the past, we are doomed to repeat them.
There's my two cents.