The bullish take is reflected in interviews with party strategists and activists, including people who supported Romney rivals during the primary season. Mood matters because it can fuel fundraising and volunteer hustle. But some of those GOP players stress that Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has little room for error if he expects to topple an incumbent president.
The chest-thumping follows a GOP victory in last week's Wisconsin recall election that saved Gov. Scott Walker's job. The race galvanized Republicans who saw it as an early 2012 referendum on conservative fiscal principles in an election that was likely to hinge on the shape of the economy.
Even Rick Santorum, who spent a primary season casting doubt on Romney's ability to succeed in a general election, says things are looking up for Romney.
"I can tell you, I feel a little bit better about that election since what happened on Tuesday up in Wisconsin," Santorum said Friday at a Conservative Political Action Conference in Chicago.
Some Republican voters concede they aren't as passionate about electing Romney as they are about booting Democratic President Barack Obama from the Oval Office.