It's a strange article, especially as it completely misses the partisan battles of the last couple weeks. The Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney story alone indicates that conservatives are more than ready to back Romney in the general election against Obama. Yeah, they may need nose plugs, but I expect conservatives will rally around Romney in the cause of defeating the greater foe:
That graphic is from The Monkey Cage, which draws from Gallup, "Romney, Obama in Tight Race as Gallup Daily Tracking Begins."
Conservatives are not necessarily Republicans, but as those on the right are more likely to identify with the GOP come November, perhaps the Times is overestimating the likely headwinds for Romney in unifying the base.
More on that later...