Romney was about as low key on social issues as conservatives could handle; I spent a lot of time convincing conservatives that it was better to vote for Romney than to vote third party. Any moving away from the social issues which are the only reason many people vote Republican will lose votes, not gain them.
Romney was all about fiscal responsibility, making jobs, and telling Americans to be responsible. Yet he lost.
Part of it may be that he's Mormon. I don't think any conservatives voted against him because of that but I suspect many were far less energetic for Romney because of that. Romney lives a life which few Christians can emulate in terms of his love of neighbor and his charity. But while Mormons seem to be nice people, excepting Harry Reid, their faith is very odd.
Part of it may be that Romney didn't convince conservatives to come out and vote for him. Romney's liberal past made it easy for Obama to paint Romney as being a liberal at heart.
But it's clear that his position on social issues didn't drag him down.
It's a lie that all Republicans care about are fat cats. But it is true that people whose whole lives have been in Washington tend to worry about the fat cats. Democrats are the ones that let the folks in Wall Street walk away with no punishment and with huge government investments to ensure they didn't lose money. Too many in the Republican establishment don't get it.
If Obama had been pro-life and Romney pro-abortion--in all cases--I would have voted for Obama. Throw in gay "marriage" and the oppression of the Church I would have given Obama money even though I know he will tank the economy.
It's odd that establishment Republicans talk about a big tent when they want to include pro-aborts but they seem to have no trouble with a small tent when trying to ditch conservative social positions.