According to Craig Shirley, former Reagan staffer who wrote a great history of the 1980 campaign, you are off on the timeline. The (worthless) public polls were sort of all over the map, but Pat Caddell and Dick Wirthlin, the campaigns’ respective pollsters, both claim they had it tied until the weekend, when they both saw a 10 point shift to Reagan. Caddell claimed it went 5 points on Sunday and another 5 on Monday. On Monday night, as Carter was flying into Seattle for a campaign-ending midnight rally, Caddell called Air Force One to report the bad news, but the connection was bad. Hamilton Jordan called Caddell back when they landed and got the full story, but he couldn’t get a good time to tell Carter until the rally was over and Air Force One was well on the way back to D.C. Until that point, probably 3 a.m. or so on Election Day, Carter apparently thought the momentum was with him and he would win. After four years of failure, the image of Jimmy Carter silently weeping on a dark plane is somehow fitting.