As John notes below, Public Policy Polling is saying that if Mitt Romney loses Michigan today he will have blown it in the last 48 hours. Romney’s latest gaffe helpfully illustrates his problem, both in his former home state and in the Republican presidential race at large.
Contrasting himself with Rick Santorum, Romney said, “It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments… I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support.” The first image that springs to mind is of Romney’s hair. If he is the nominee, Republicans might start supporting a constitutional amendment that protects Romney’s hair from such desecration. But reread the first half of his statement: “It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments.”
Without trying to read too much into a single quote, this is a good example of why Romney is having trouble gaining (or at least keeping) traction: many Republican voters feel that Romney has a low opinion of their intelligence, that he thinks the base is dumb, that he believes conservative rhetoric is just boob bait for the bubbas. This perception is why a critical mass of conservatives don’t trust Romney and are reluctant to support him.