I know I promised to move on, but I've been reading recent analysis which suggests that the primary reason that Romney lost was the failure of conservatives/Republicans to turn out, as this article at Real Clear Politics explains. RCP indicates that turn out was strong in the South, but weak in the so-called swing states. Focusing on Ohio, RCP indicated that it was the rural conservatives that failed to turn out, and suggests it is because while they were unhappy with Obama, these areas have been hit hard by the recession, and they were not convinced that Romney would better their situation and/or they were turned off by his wealth.
This raises a few issues. First, that the sudden turn by Congressional Republicans to accommodate illegal immigration in order to gain Latino votes is a mistake. Not because it won't work (which it won't--Latino immigrants as a whole will always vote Democratic in order to protect their welfare benefits), but because the concern is misplaced. It was not the failure to gain the Latino vote that lost the election.
Second, the observation that voters were turned off by Romney doesn't explain anything. I've heard explanation for this ranging from Michael Savage saying that Romney was too nice for the voters, and they wanted a fighter, to Romney's alleged failure to address Latino concerns (which, as discussed above, is a straw man), to a lack of enthusiasm because he was too conservative (which is not and never has been true--he was a Republican from the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts) or was not conservative enough, to his being too wishy-washy (compared to the paragon of truth and consistency that is Obama?) to being turned off by his wealth and background. However, given the choice between Obama and Romney, none of these really make sense. We know what Obama is, and he is the worst President this country has ever had--worse, even, than Carter. By not voting, they were conceding that Obama should win. So, why would they think Romney was worse than Obama?
I think it boils to two issues. First, this election was always, at its roots, about "bread and circuses" versus fiscal responsibility. I'm not in a "battle-ground" state, but I will tell you the advertisements I heard incessantly before the election were those for open enrollment in Medicaid and all the "free" benefits that would kick in shortly.
Second, I'm reading on the internet and hearing from other people in my area a lot of anecdotes of people either voting against Romney, or simply not voting at all, because Romney is a "Mormon." We know liberals hate Mormons (at some deep level, I think even Harry Reid hates himself and his religion). But anti-Mormonism is so deeply engrained in certain areas of the country, that there were a lot of conservatives that simply couldn't bring themselves to vote for Romney because of his religious faith. They would rather have had a godless man in the White House than someone with a different flavor of Christianity from the mainstream faiths.
And that is what I think it boiled down to: one or both caused fewer Republicans to show up at the polls this year.