On the national level – particularly among independents -- former senator Rick Santorum’s (R-Pa.) remark that President Obama is a “snob” because he wants “everybody in America to go to college” might seem like political suicide.
In the 2008 Michigan Republican primary, nearly six in 10 voters – 57 percent -- held no college degree, according to exit polling data.
That’s a higher percentage than in all of the primary states that have voted so far this year.
Of course, being a non-college-degree holder doesn’t necessarily mean Santorum’s comments about college will resonate. A Pew Research Center survey conducted last May showed that 94 percent of parents surveyed said they expected their children to attend college.
But Santorum’s broader message--that Obama is out of touch with Americans who have not attended college--is more likely to strike a chord among non-college-degree holders than among college graduates.
One other key factor that’s likely to come into play today in Michigan: Romney has tended to do anywhere from two to seven points worse among non-college graduates than among college graduates in this year’s nominating contests.
That means that if Santorum runs up high margins among non-college graduates in Michigan, he stands a better chance of beating Romney in the state where he grew up -- a state he won in the GOP primary four years ago.