Rick Snyder's winning the Republican primary for Governor of Michigan...while running third among actual GOP voters. That's because Michigan has open primaries and Snyder's up big with the independents planning to cast their votes on the Republican side.
It's an extremely close race at this point with 4 of the 5 candidates polling within five points of each other. Snyder's at 20%, followed by Pete Hoekstra at 19%, Mike Cox at 17%, and Mike Bouchard at 15%. Tom George is polling further back with his level of support currently at 9%.
Among Republicans it's actually Hoekstra at the top with 19%, followed by Cox at 18%, and Snyder at 16%. But with those independents, who account for a little more than 20% of the GOP primary electorate, Snyder leads the way with 36% followed by Bouchard at 24% and Hoekstra at 18%.
The GOP race is pretty volatile right now though with none of the candidates particularly well known. Cox is the most prominent but 36% of likely primary voters still don't have any opinion about him. 41% have no opinion about Hoekstra, 54% are ambivalent toward Bouchard, 56% don't know enough about Snyder to have formed an opinion, and George is a blank slate to 83% of those who say they'll vote in the August primary.
Hoekstra has a 4 point lead with conservatives but Snyder has the overall edge thanks to a 10 point advantage among moderates.
General election numbers we'll release tomorrow show Snyder would definitely be the strongest candidate for Republicans in the fall...but whether he'll have enough appeal to conservatives to survive the primary remains to be seen. This is going to be an interesting and closely fought race.
Full results here