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Analyst: Nevermind the polls, Pawlenty 2nd among GOP presidential hopefuls

He might be sitting in the low single digits in the polls right now, but one prominent D.C. publication rates Gov. Tim Pawlenty second favorite for the GOP presidential nomination.

WASHINGTON — He might be sitting in the low single digits in the polls right now, but one prominent D.C. publication rates Gov. Tim Pawlenty second favorite for the GOP presidential nomination.

National Journal’s Presidential Power Poll is not necessarily designed to measure who’s up or down right now, rather who’s the strongest candidate overall. It factors in money, campaign organization, candidate strengths and weaknesses.

The top four, which National Journal dubbed the “A List,” are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Pawlenty, South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Other notables include Mike Huckabee (5th), Sarah Palin (6th) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (7th).

Of Pawlenty, National Journal said:

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Like Romney, Pawlenty is acting like a traditional candidate, putting together the staff and resources necessary to jump in with both feet. He’s certainly got the executive experience and conservative credentials, but early reviews of his public appearances make us wonder whether he’s exciting enough to inspire a primary audience. Our burning question: Does “Minnesota Nice” play in presidential primary politics?

See the whole list, 1st through 15th, by clicking here.