First off, Romney has been in Michigan recently:
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land had a great event in Oakland County with special guest Governor Mitt Romney. A packed room of donors and activists listened to Terri and Governor Romney talk about the difference Republican leadership can make.
Earlier yesterday, the Republican Governors Association held a series of events to support Dick DeVos and other Republicans running for Governor around the country. Joining Governor Romney in Michigan were Minnesota’s Governor Tim Palwenty and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. They held an interesting policy forum to discuss issues effecting various states and we were joined by a very special guest, our former Governor John Engler.
Ann Marie (who was born and raised in Michigan) at Elect Romney in 2008 has some good commentary on Romney's political maneuvering and growing political network in Michigan detailed here and here. The second link has a viewable PDF of the letter Romney sent a few days ago to Mich. GOPers promising more support (physically and financially) through his Mich. PAC and Rep. Gov. Assc. (RGA) ties.
Of keen interest to Romney is the Michigan gubenatorial race where the GOP challenger (DeVos) has been shooting up the polls and has now overtaken the Democratic incumbent (Granholm). That race and Nussle's run in Iowa are perched as two key races where Republicans could "flip" the Governorship from Blue to Red. It is very convenient for Romney, as head of the RGA, to be able to focus on these states as "victories" under his watch, while being able to maintain a strong presence and build networks of supporters for his "all but announce" run for the White House in 2008 in these two states which have early primaries and are considered "battleground" for the general election.
In the same link, at the bottom of the story, it has some results from a "cold call" poll of MI residents about the 2008 Pres hopefuls with the following results: "Asked whom they would support for the Republican nomination for president in 2008, 39 percent chose Arizona Sen. John McCain, 22 percent selected former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and 15 percent chose Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Other potential candidates received less than 4 percent of the vote." The full results of the poll are here at "Strategic Vision, LLC" website (Questions 19-23). While this may seem discouraging that he's a distant 3rd to Giuliani & McCain I have posted before (second part of that blog entry) that these "cold call polls" are more about name recognition than anything else this early in the game (Hence, McCain and Rudy doing so well . . . even Condi Rice does good when included). What is encouraging and validates my theory is that Romney polls much better where his name is better recognized (born and raised in Michigan where his father was a beloved 2+ term Governor.) It is also encouraging that Allen, Gingrich, Frist, and Pataki are all 3% or less though name recognition are more of an issue for Allen and Pataki . . . all light years behind Romney.
This all bodes well for the Gov. because presently, I cannot conceive of Romney not being in the top 2 or 3 in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan (South Carolina a wild-card), all of which are early "statement states." With that, Romney is highly likely to be the major "anti-McCain" candidate out of the early fray and will be well positioned on Super Tuesday to take it all. I've also heard some speculate that Romney will set up his Campaign Headquaters in Michigan when the time comes. Keep an eye on Michigan for it could be the state that launches Romney into the "Pole Position."