A new poll conducted on behalf of the Conservative Intelligence Briefing shows Michigan Republican Terri Lynn Land leading Democrat Gary Peters in the race for the U.S. Senate among likely voters. Here's more:

At this early point, with no primaries to speak of and no big media push so far, Land’s lead is probably attributable to her statewide name recognition as a popular former elected official. On the generic Senate ballot, Democrats actually lead in the same race by just over one point — well within the poll’s 3 point margin of error. Land’s favorable/unfavorable rating is 32% to 18%, compared to Peters’ 18% to 18%. Only 51 percent of those surveyed said they don’t know enough about Land to form an opinion, compared to 64 percent for Peters.

That gives the Democrat more upside potential. Still, the result demonstrates that Republicans should not overlook the opportunity created by the retirement of six-term Sen. Carl Levin, D — the first open-seat Senate race in Michigan since 1994, when Republican Spence Abraham won. Although Michigan is considered a “Blue” state in presidential races, it has repeatedly elected Republicans to statewide offices in midterm elections.

This is the most significant lead for the Republican in the small number of early polls. According to Real Clear Politics, the average of those early polls gives Peters a 1.2-point advantage.

Land, as a former secretary of state, has been elected statewide before, which may explain part of her lead in this latest poll. Peters, on the other hand, is a three-term congressman from the Detroit suburbs. With 64 percent of likely voters saying they don't know enough about Peters to form an opinion of him, there are opportunities for both parties to define him. First elected to Congress in 2008, Peters voted for Obamacare and has continued to support the law since its passage.

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