Trot on over to the Club for Growth website. They have a very interesting election poll conducted on Sunday before the vote. It is commissioned by CfG so take the results with that grain of salt. Even so, the numbers are eye-popping. In my own opinion, it can be summed up as the following: the majority of voters favor fiscally conservative policies but they believe that the Republican party has strayed far from this foundation.
Political panic from the financial meltdown also played a big role. (This is my opinion, not from the poll.) Panic, by definition, is an irrational response to fear. The poll shows that the irrational response was to vote against their beliefs. They voted for the one who confidently offered easy solutions and against the guy who wasn't confident.
Unfortunately, McCain is not a fundamental fiscal conservative. He said a lot of the right words and advocated some good policies, but it was based on gut feelings instead of a solid intellectual foundation. He didn't understand enough to properly counter Obama's pitch and the market meltdown. He could not close the sale.
Hat tip: Instapundit