Not in a literal sense. If Romney loses he won't quit nor is he out of the race by any means.
But if he can't win in his home state, where can he win?
The lesson after Iowa was supposed to be "keep the boot on the throat." Then again after South Carolina, Mitt Romney's team said it had learned that particular element of survival.
So it's fair for campaign supporters to ask--and they are--why Romney was so docile in last Tuesday's elections, and then to grow less easy still as national polls on Monday showed Rick Santorum pulling into a tie, and a new one today reflecting more than half of Santorum's voters professing strong support, stacked against less than 40 percent of Romney voters.
When will Romney make the down payment on the nomination?
Part of that answer came today, with a new ad for the Detroit market playing up Romney's Michigan ties, an opening of the wallet in a state that won't vote for 14 more days. Another part of the answer leans on how successful Romney is lumping Santorum in with Newt Gingrich as a Beltway denizen and, ipso facto, part of the proverbial problem.
How much Romney is willing to spend, and how hard he's willing to go at Santorum, will tell us whether he ultimately learned the lesson he was said to last month, or another one altogether.
A recent ARG poll has Santorum up by six points. The fact that Romney is already blanketing the state with ads two weeks before the primary should tell you he is running scared.
In a state he was supposed to win easily, Mitt Romney is fighting for his political life. What a strange, wonderful, depressing campaign season it has been.