Newt Gingrich tells Salon that among other factors (e.g. misreading the electoral effects of high unemployment and ObamaCare), Republicans were wrong about 2012 because:
I think conservatives in general got in the habit of talking to themselves. I think that they in a sense got isolated into their own little world. [Same with] our pollsters, many of whom were wrong about turnout.... [I]t turned out in the real world we were kidding ourselves.
Even in that obviousness, Gingrich manages to butcher insight.
His party's worst polling problem revolved not around acute turnout, but around the chronic evidence of a sustained Obama lead in key battleground states. True, the right's hermetic echo chamber allowed them to kid themselves about many things, but not even a pompous self-absorption can explain a willingness to ignore virtually perpetual unfavorable "likely voter" findings.
Kidding oneself about the "real world" of electoral politics is an insignificant flaw compared to Republicans' much more fundamental rejection of straightforward empiricism, which lies at the core of authentic conservatism. Republicans were able to kid themselves about turnout and regular polling for the same reason they still kid themselves about climate change and science and pump-priming and macroeconomics: as self-proclaimed conservatives, they nonetheless reject conservatism's philosophical essence.
And as long as contemporary conservatives stand in opposition to themselves--i.e., to the empirical basis of "real" conservatism--very little is going to make much sense to them, or anyone else.