More recently, he has angered conservatives by agreeing to expand Medicaid as part of the 2010 federal health care law. Walker, Jindal and other Republican governors have refused. Snyder argued the federal payout for Michigan made sense.
Snyder had already upset conservatives by opposing a constitutional amendment to make it harder to raise taxes and vetoing an abortion measure that opponents now hope to circumvent with a ballot measure.
Snyder's signing of Medicaid expansion this month was the last straw for Kevin Heine, a Michigan tea-party activist with a group trying to recruit candidates for a longshot primary challenge against Snyder.
"His record does not show him as a true Republican," Heine said. "He's done some good things. But he's trying to use the good to balance out the stupid."
That's not how Snyder sees it. "I don't keep track of trying to equally anger people," and doesn't care whether he has everyone with him, he said. Instead, he says he makes decisions based primarily on data. "I don't make them as a politician," he said.
Not so, top Democrats say.
"I think the voters of Michigan see right through that," Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson said, calling Snyder's corporate tax cuts and signing the union bill "right out of the Republican playbook."
So far, Democrats have coalesced around former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer as their candidate to challenge Snyder. Snyder has led Schauer in recent polls, although the incumbent has support from less than 50 percent of voters.
Should Snyder win and take steps toward 2016, he would join a field that could include other governors with a get-it-done mantra, such as Walker, Jindal and Christie, who have all taken their first steps onto that stage.
"Governors Christie, Snyder and Walker have all been propelled to national prominence in part because they took on the unions in blue states, won, and now their states are in much stronger fiscal shape. This stands in stark contrast to Washington, D.C.," said Greg Strimple, a national Republican pollster and strategist.