A recent poll in Minnesota by St. Cloud University showed Governor Tim Pawlenty coming in 10 points behind President Obama if Pawlenty were to run against Obama in 2012. St. Cloud is located in the center of Minnesota, part of the extremely conservative 6th district which elected notorious Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to office not once but twice.
This was not a new poll result for Pawlenty. Other polls have shown similar numbers. In March of 2009, a Rasmussen poll showed that a whopping 61% of Minnesotans did not think Pawlenty should run for president in 2012. A Rasmussen poll in May 2009 showed 55% didn’t think he could win the nomination for 2012.
Governor Pawlenty had been among those thought to be under consideration for John McCain’s running mate during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, prior to McCain selecting Sarah Palin for the position.
Pawlenty is considered a potential candidate for the GOP 2012 presidential race, and has been touring the country speaking at conservative and Republican events, including turning up to promote the losing Conservative candidate in the New York 23rd Congressional District, instead of supporting the more moderate GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava. Palin was another of the possible 2012 hopefuls to turn up far from home to get noticed and to promote the Conservative Party candidate.
Is it just me, or does it make sense that a serious presidential candidate should be able to carry the vote in their own state?
Pawlenty, or “T-Paw” for short as he is referred to in Minnesota, has announced that he will not run for a third term as governor, although he has decent approval ratings in the polls for his performance as governor. Which makes it perhaps the more confusing to note that this suggests that there are some people who like him well enough as governor, but who dislike the idea of him as a possible President, or at least as a candidate running for President.
A poll from the Minneapolis newspaper, The Star Tribune, from September 2009 indicated that 30% of Minnesotans would like Pawlenty to make a bid for the presidential candidacy, with 55% indicating they don’t want him to run. A statement by “T-Paw” advisor Alex Conant, quoted in an article by CNN Political Director Paul Steinhauser stated (with typical Republican math) “the fact that half of the voters in a liberal leaning state like Minnesota would consider voting for a conservative like Pawlenty is a real testament to his strong record as governor.”
At the time Conant made the comment, the STrib poll indicated one in four Minnesotans said there was a good chance they’d vote for him, but the results did not indicate if a hypothetical opponent was named. Another one in four indicating there was at least some chance they might vote for him. However 43% indicated there was no chance they would vote for Pawlenty for president.
In the meantime, Pawlenty’s approval ratings for his job as governor continue to decline, as he leaves a difficult political scene in Minnesota where there is a great deal of controversy over the state budget. Pawlenty has been described as perhaps less conservative than some of the more extreme right base of the Republican Party, but is frequently described as conservative ENOUGH.
It is expected he may try to appeal to the more conservative views of the narrow GOP base in part by trying to campaign for votes for conservative candidates in other states. For example, in a recent Iowa presidential poll for the Des Moines Register, Pawlenty was viewed favorably by 17%, unfavorably by 10%, not sure 73%. In comparison, Palin was viewed unfavorably by 55% of those polled. But will campaigning for conservative candidates in other states help T-Paw win at home? His declining numbers in Minnesota are headed the wrong way for a presidential win in his home state.