WASHINGTON — Yes, it’s still 2010, but for those already looking ahead to 2012…
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, trailing in most national and state polls in the GOP 2012 field, leads in his home state, according to an early set of state-by-state surveys by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling. Pawlenty takes 19 percent in Minnesota, with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin right behind at 18 percent. Mitt Romney is tied for fourth in the Gopher State at 11 percent.
PPP’s thoughts on Minnesota:
Tim Pawlenty leads the field in his home state of Minnesota but his performance is surprisingly weak. He gets 19% with Palin right on his heels at 18%, Huckabee at 14%, and Gingrich and Romney each getting 11%. These numbers are reflective of the overall trouble we found for Pawlenty at home in our final preelection poll of the state- his approval rating was under water and voters overwhelmingly said they didn’t think he should run for President. Partially because of Pawlenty’s declining popularity Democrats seem to have picked up the Governor’s office there in an otherwise awful year for the party. Palin actually leads Pawlenty 20-18 with conservatives but the Governor leads overall thanks to a 27-10 advantage with moderates. It is no coincidence that Romney is in the basement in this state- we’ve found several places now that where Pawlenty is unusually strong the victim seems to be Romney because of a greater split in the vote among GOP centrists.
Minnesota, by the way, is the only state where Pawlenty has polled in double digits so far. His next best states (in the high single digits) are Wisconsin and Illinois.
Read the full report by clicking here.
Update: Political statestician Nate Silver, of the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog, says the poll is further evidence that Pawlenty is “overrated.” Earlier today, Silver named Pawlenty and South Dakota Sen. John Thune among his list of the 2012 contenders to bet against.