Anne is right about one thing: it is not about Romney, or the type of candidate selected. It's more about demographics, something very different today than in 1980. The comparison to the Reagan era is weak.
(See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/us/08iht-letter08.html?_r=0. --- I can't believe I'm referencing a NYT article....) That, and Superstorm Sandy on the eve of the election helped the Democraps.