Now, to the loyalty element. Romney may have been governor of Massachusetts and a principal figure in salvaging the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Utah, but his inner compass points to Michigan, where he was reared and where his father was the chief of American Motors and a successful governor.

The Romney name still resonates here, and if you mention it many will think you’re referring to the father. George W. Romney still is revered by those of a certain age. Mitt Romney may be the beneficiary. That is not without precedent in presidential politics, and the evidence can be summed up with two names: Franklin Roosevelt and George W. Bush.

Like so many places, the economy is the major issue here. Only 11 states have a higher unemployment rate than Michigan, where it remains stubbornly at 8.5 percent. In the classic battleground state, Ohio, unemployment is substantially lower, at 7.3 percent. These are not the kind of political entrails that give comfort to an incumbent party.