Many on the right have asserted (rightfully so, I would argue) that Mitt Romney ran a good campaign, but Obama’s overwhelming lead among Hispanics, African-Americans, and single women pushed victory out of reach. Perhaps that is too simple an explanation. According to Andrew Kohut, writing in the Wall Street Journal, Romney himself may bear the bulk of the blame:
Here is what the exit poll found. Mr. Romney’s personal image took a hard hit during the primary campaign and remained weak on election day. Just 47% of exit-poll respondents viewed him favorably, compared with 53% for Mr. Obama. Throughout the campaign, Mr. Romney’s favorable ratings were among the lowest recorded for a presidential candidate in the modern era. A persistent problem was doubt about his empathy with the average voter. By 53% to 43%, exit-poll respondents said that Mr. Obama was more in touch than Mr. Romney with people like themselves.
Mr. Romney was never fully embraced by Republicans themselves, which may have inhibited the expected strong Republican turnout. Pew’s election-weekend survey found Mr. Romney with fewer strong supporters (33%) than Mr. Obama (39%). Similarly, a much greater percentage of Obama supporters (80%) than Romney supporters (60%) told Pew that they were voting for their candidate rather than against his opponent.
I’m not convinced that this is accurate, as it ignores the impact that months (and months) of negative advertising by Obama had running against Governor Romney.