As someone who supported Mitt Romney for president, this election was a tough pill to swallow. Unlike the final days of the 2008 election, when John McCain voters began to accept that the ideas of hope and change would ultimately rule the day, many individuals on both ends of the political spectrum believed that Romney could emerge victorious and would at least win the popular vote.
While it is now clear that these predictions were incorrect, reasons for the loss are all over the map.
Some Republicans blame Romney's defeat on the candidate's lack of a clear message. Others attribute it to President Barack Obama's immediate response to Hurricane Sandy, which they say distracted voters from the sluggish economy and mysteries surrounding the attack in Libya.
Still others look to the changing demographics of the country, which tend to favor the current president. While these are certainly plausible factors, I would like to offer an alternative view.
According to voters, the most important issue of the election was the economy. Interestingly, exit polls reveal that Romney had a slight edge when people were asked who was more capable of handling the subject by 4 percentage points.
Romney also narrowly led on three of four questions regarding candidate qualities. Voters answered that he had a clearer vision for the future, would be a stronger leader and more closely shared their values.
Given that Romney was in the driver's seat on these crucial inquiries, how did he not win the election?
The anomaly in the otherwise close exit polling data could be found in the fourth candidate quality question, which asked voters to choose the candidate that cared the most about people like them.
Voters looking for compassion in their candidate backed the president by a staggering 63 percentage points. Romney lost the election because he was unable to create the personal connection with the voters that President Obama managed to maintain throughout his first term.
People were not willing to accept the idea that a rich businessman could empathize with their struggles, and voted as such.
If Romney had found a way to overcome this constraint, the nation would be preparing to usher in the 45th president of the United States.