And that leads to the issue of philosophy. Make no mistake, the Republicans once again chose a more "establishment" candidate as their nominee. In one sense, this choice may prove to be perfect, in that Romney has seemed to perform better with female independent voters who are critical to a Republican victory and tend to shy away from fire-breathing conservatives. But there is little doubt that a more aggressively conservative nominee would have been all over the seeming lack of support and later lack of transparency when it comes to the entire attack in Libya. That left a greater burden on the economy and "Obamacare" to motivate swing voters to go for Romney.
Then there is the issue of luck. Not only did Romney and the Republicans have one hurricane impact their convention, but they received a double dose when Sandy brought havoc and tragedy to much of the Eastern United States.
The justifiably huge amount of attention the storm received over the past week knocked a rising Romney out of the headlines and off the offensive. As mentioned, it gave President Obama a chance to appear presidential, and as of late in the final week of campaigning, the polls were drifting a bit more back into the direction of Obama.
Of course, polling in some instances was more difficult, and as I have contended, many polls have been "weighted" more heavily Democrat than is the electorate. And there is the intangible issue of which, if any, voters in any area may be less likely to turn out as a result of the storm's immense damage and thus change a state's actual vote.
So many factors in a presidential contest -- some choices of candidates and consultants, some choices made by primary and caucus voters, and some in the hands of nature -- and all critical to the outcome.