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With vote still two weeks away, Santorum building up big lead in Michigan

Barring a huge shift in momentum, Public Policy Polling is projecting a 10-15 point lead for Rick Santorum in a Michigan poll set to be released tonight. The big lead is not a good sign for Mitt Romney, who grew up in Michigan and has been banking on Santorum cooling down from his hat-trick wins last Tuesday before Republican primary voters in Arizona and Michigan go to the polls on February 28.  The last polling in the state was taken before Santorum's wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri last Tuesday, and had Romney up in Michigan by double digits.

If Santorum were to deliver a stunning upset in the state where George Romney served as a popular governor and auto executive it would give the former Pennsylvania senator further legitimacy not only as the true challenger to Romney, but an outright contender for the Republican nomination. The Michigan and Arizona contests will be held one week before "Super Tuesday," where voters will head to the polls in 10 states in the industrial Midwest--a region where Santorum's working-class background and outspoken leadership on social issues could play well.

ABC News notes that Romney is already setting back expectations for his performance in the primaries at the end of February. Just 20 percent of Republicans surveyed in the same PPP poll actually consider Romney to be from Michigan.

One last thing…
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