A month ago, as Mitt Romney’s campaign appeared to be foundering on just about every front, even allies of the Republican nominee believed his hopes for recovery to be particularly grim here in Iowa.

At the time, he was failing to generate much enthusiasm in his western Iowa stronghold, and President Obama’s vaunted ground game in the state — which had launched him toward the Oval Office in 2008 — was humming along with an efficiency that threatened to put the state out of reach.

Particularly concerning for the Romney camp was the extent to which its internal polling showed the challenger getting blown out in Obama’s eastern Iowa strongholds of Black Hawk and Linn counties, which encompass the population hubs of Waterloo-Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids, respectively.