This rundown by Byron York notes, with others, I’m sure, that Romney got burned early by Obama’s negative ads and did not respond in his own defense. Did not set his people on fire, as Obama did almost exclusively.
In the end, while Obama, with all the advantage of incumbency, soared with his base, Romney couldn’t fully connect with voters who might lean Republican. “My general impression is that the base, the activists — the people you need — never emotionally invested in Romney the way they emotionally invested in George W. Bush,” says a senior GOP operative involved in the campaign. Maybe not even as much as they invested in McCain.
For what it’s worth, I remember in the final days, glued to Fox and even CNN throughout the day, my wife and I got to finishing (too long) stories by Romney on the stump before a succession of very big crowds. We knew how they ended. He had the one speech. It got boring. We never hesitated in voting for him, but others? The ones who didn’t vote at all?