“Absolutely he’s a viable candidate,” says Michigan pollster Steve Mitchell. “He’s a Republican governor from a swing state — if he wins reelection this fall by eight or 10 points, he’ll be an attractive option.”

Snyder has an edge over other GOP governors, such as Scott Walker in Wisconsin and John Kasich in Ohio, in that his stature has risen with exposure. Snyder has grown very well into his office. He’s still not a true politician, but he has become more politically astute.

He’s also gained leadership weight. He’s not so much the deferential, goofy nerd who came into the office. He understands now he’s the most important person in the room. And while he’s not pretentious, he seems to better recognize the power of his position.

Mitchell says Snyder’s pragmatism would have strong appeal to independents.