Not the party platform that favored white Christian men, preferably rich.
An oped in the WSJ
Misreading Election 2012
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.
Surprisingly, Mr. Romney proved unable to exploit Mr. Obama's biggest weakness: the economy. Seventy-six percent of exit-poll respondents rated the national economy "poor" or only "fair," and just 25% said their finances were better off than they were four years ago. Yet voters expressed roughly equal confidence in Mr. Obama's ability to handle the economy (48%) as in Mr. Romney's (49%).
In short, the current American electorate is hardly stacked against the Republican Party. But Republicans should recognize that, on balance, Americans remain moderate—holding a mix of liberal and conservative views. They generally believe that small government is better and that ObamaCare is bad. But the exit poll shows that 59% believe abortion should be legal, 65% support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and a surprising plurality support legalizing same-sex marriage in their states.
— Mr. Kohut is president of the Pew Research Center.