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Lansing — Likely Republican primary voters have a more favorable view of Gov. Rick Snyder than the six men still seeking the GOP presidential nomination, and give the governor high marks for his handling of the Flint water crisis, according to a new statewide poll.

A Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll of 600 likely voters in the March 8 presidential primary shows 63 percent have a favorable view of Snyder while 21 percent see the second-term governor unfavorably.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s 62 percent favorable rating from likely GOP voters surveyed was the highest among the six remaining Republican White House hopefuls.

Carson was followed by U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida at 53 percent and Ted Cruz of Texas at 46 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 45 percent. Billionaire Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush rounded out the bottom of the favorability poll at 43 percent and 42 percent, respectively.

About 53 percent of likely GOP primary voters surveyed said they approve of the Republican governor’s handling of the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis.

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Snyder has acknowledged his administration made mistakes in Flint’s April 2014 switch to Flint River water under the watch of an emergency manager appointed by the governor. About 31 percent of Republican voters disapprove of Snyder’s actions in Flint.

Only voters who said said they planned to vote in the March 8 GOP primary — 70 percent of them Republicans — were surveyed in the 600-person poll, which has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.

Snyder’s Flint actions approval rating remains at 61 percent among like Republican primary voters who reside in a region that includes Flint, Genesee County and the Thumb, according to the poll.

Democrats have heavily criticized Snyder for weeks about Flint’s lead-contaminated water since the governor declared a state of emergency on Jan. 5.

Snyder has resisted calls to resign and plans to testify before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Flint’s drinking water crisis.

No date has been set for the hearing, but the governor said Thursday he’s “looking forward” to being grilled by a bipartisan congressional committee.

Staff Photographer David Guralnick contributed.

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