Mitt Romney continues to be the favored Presidential candidate of Republican voters in Michigan, although maybe not to the extent you would expect given his long standing family ties to the state. He's at 24%, followed by Michele Bachmann at 18%, Rick Perry at 14%, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich at 7%, Ron Paul at 6%, Thad McCotter at 5%, and Tim Pawlenty at 4%.
Romney's actually in third place with voters describing themselves as 'very conservative' at 16%, trailing Bachmann's 22% and Perry's 17%. But as is the case many places he builds a lead by being very strong with moderates (30-12 over Bachmann) and voters labeling themselves as only 'somewhat conservative' (28-17 over both Bachmann and Perry.)
Perry has to be seen as one of the winners on this poll. A double digit starting point a long way from home, outside the South, without really having done any campaigning yet shows the extent to which Republican voters are open to a new face. They're good news for Bachmann as well, she's clearly established herself as the top alternative to Romney for the moment, although that standing is a little bit tenuous as Perry joins the race.
The biggest loser on the poll is a toss up between McCotter and Pawlenty. For McCotter it's pretty bad news to be polling at only 5% in his home state and beyond that 61% of primary voters don't even know who he is. But for Pawlenty it's another last place finish and beyond that he gets the dubious distinction of being the first serious candidate to poll behind Thad McCotter anywhere.
We also looked at where the race would stand were Sarah Palin to make a last minute jump in. Romney's lead would expand from 6 points to 12, getting 25% to 13% for Perry and 12% for Palin and Bachmann. You can make an argument that Palin running would be the best thing that could happen for Romney- and by extension the Republican Party- at this point. Her candidacy would split the hard right vote three ways between herself, Bachmann, and Perry. That could only help Romney's chances at the nomination, and our polling has repeatedly shown that at least for now Romney's the only GOP candidate who's competitive with Obama both nationally and in key swing states.
Pete Hoekstra's looking like a shoo in for the Republican Senate nomination. He's polling at 78% to 5% for Randy Hekman, and 3% each for Peter Konetchy and John McCulloch (the poll was conducted before McCulloch dropped out and Gary Glenn joined the race.) More important than Hoekstra's lead against a bunch of no name opponents is that he has 75% name recognition with primary voters and a favorability spread of 64/11. The fact that he is pretty universally well liked from the get go will make it pretty hard for any new candidate to come from behind and deny him the nomination.
Full results here