I think it's more in how they played the game.
Romney's popularity in most States is irrelevant; only about 6 swing states mattered. Two years ago the Republicans should have polled their candidates in OH, FL, VA, and WI to see which would have the best shot. A GOP who can't win those states can't win the election-period.
The most moral person does not always win a chess game; the better chess player almost always wins a chess game. An election is a game, and the Romney team could not deliver the swing states.