I don’t think I ever claimed Mitt Romney was an electoral powerhouse or that the Republican base loved him, Stacy. I’m simply addressing one narrow point: Even if Romney is only winning narrow margins after massively outspending his GOP rivals in big states with expensive media markets, what reflects poorly on him doesn’t necessarily reflect well on his opponents. Romney isn’t likely to stop outspending them anytime soon, and Barack Obama would surely outspend them.
But since you asked, yes, Romney is a very weak frontrunner. My guess is he has at least some fear that his primary opponents will keep him short of the 1,144 delegate finish line. But his biggest concern is almost certainly the primary campaign’s impact on his negatives should he win the nomination. He wants Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to go away and stop reminding the base how much they dislike him.
Note that nothing in my skepticism about Santorum and Gingrich’s prospects going forward assumes any real strength on the part of Romney. But if Romney is weak for not wrapping up the nomination and quieting conservative concerns, how strong are the candidates who can’t beat him?