PPP's first look at the Michigan Senate race since Carl Levin's retirement announcement finds Democrat Gary Peters as the early front runner, leading 8 different potential Republican candidates by anywhere from 5 to 20 points.
The strongest potential Republican candidate at this point is former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who announced her candidacy this week. She trails Peters by 5 points at 41/36. Land is the best known person considering the race too, although she still has just 50% name recognition.
Mike Rogers does the next best against Peters, trailing 42/32. After him it's Justin Amash and Dave Camp who each trail by 12 points at 42/30 and 43/31 respectively, Kimberly Small who's 16 points back at 42/26, Roger Kahn and Rob Steele who are each down 18 at 44/26, and Saul Anuzis who has a 20 point deficit at 44/24.
Peters' strength in these early match ups has less to do with him than it does the general Democratic lean of the state in national elections. At this point only 34% of voters know enough about Peters to have formed an opinion of him, with those assessments coming in slightly positive at 18/16. The Republican field is a blur to voters too though- after Land the best known is Rogers with 35% name recognition, followed by Camp at 31%, Amash at 30%, Anuzis at 18%, Small and Steele at 17%, and Kahn at 16%. This simply isn't a very high profile field of potential candidates.