For Democrats, who have become accustomed to their party blowing an election even when it seemed like a sure thing, the results were a bitter pill to swallow.
The head-shaking and finger-pointing over the demise of the Democrats' losing streak, which many of the party faithful had worn like a badge of honor, reached all the way to the upper echelons of the Democratic National Committee.
"Believe me, I'm as shocked by these results as anybody," said DNC chief Howard Dean, who indicated he has received hundreds of calls from incredulous party members. "We did everything in our power to screw this thing up."
Dean pointed to several key elements the Democrats put in place to ensure defeat, ranging from "a rancorous primary campaign" to "the appointment of me."
"Somehow, despite our best efforts to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, we won," he said. "I came in here with a mandate to blow this thing and I didn't get it done."
Carol Foyler, a lifelong Democrat who owns a loom supply store in Portland, Maine, said she has been "nearly catatonic" since the election results were announced.
"For the past eight years, I've fixed myself some herbal tea, turned on NPR and ranted about the Republicans," she said. "All that has been taken from me."
Elsewhere, Sen. John McCain offered this comment on Sen. Barack Obama's victory: "My friends, I've got him just where I want him."