Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty — who starts his national book tour this week and has shown a strong interest in running for president even if he hasn’t declared yet — is relatively low in both recognition and favorable ratings in a Gallup Poll out today that asked about likely Republican contenders for president.
Sarah Palin gets the highest ratings for recognition, but Mike Huckabee is tops on the favorable list (highly favorable minus highly unfavorable, amongst those who recognize the candidate).
Pawlenty is listed eighth in recognition with 39 percent, and 11th in net favorable, with +13, in the poll of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, taken Jan. 4-5.
Notes from the pollsters:
1. Five of the potential candidates are relatively well known among Republicans nationwide, with name identification at 70% or higher. Former GOP vice presidential candidate Palin is the most recognized of those tested, with a near-universal recognition of 95% among Republicans. Huckabee, Gingrich, and Romney are each recognized by between 84% and 87% of Republicans, while Paul is recognized by 73%. Four of these candidates were involved in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, and the fifth, Gingrich, was a well-known speaker of the House in the 1990s and has been a highly visible commentator and pundit in the years since.
2. The eight remaining candidates have much lower name identification among Republicans. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty have name identification around the 40% level. The other five candidates are even less well known, with name identification ranging from 26% for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to 14% for former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Indiana Rep. Mike Pence is recognized by 22% of Republicans, former Utah Gov. John Huntsman by 21%, and South Dakota Sen. John Thune by 20%.
3. As would be expected, Republicans who recognize a given candidate are more likely to have favorable than unfavorable opinions of that candidate. But when given the opportunity to say if these feelings are “strongly” favorable rather than just favorable, a majority of those with positive opinions choose the more moderate position for each candidate. Similarly, negative reactions are more likely to be just unfavorable rather than strongly unfavorable. This suggests that currently,no potential candidate is generating strongly emotional responses from Republicans nationwide.
4. Overall, Huckabee (+30) has the highest net favorable score — strongly favorable responses minus strongly unfavorable responses among those who recognize him — of any of these 13 potential candidates. Palin has a relatively high percentage of strongly favorable opinions among those who recognize her, at 30%, but also the highest strongly unfavorable opinions of any candidates included in the research (8%), for a net favorable score of 22. Gingrich (24) and Romney (23) have net favorable scores similar to Palin’s. All but one of the remaining candidates have net favorable scores from 11 to 19, with Pence and Huntsman at the top end of that range, and Daniels at the lower end. Johnson, who has the lowest name identification score among Republicans, also has the lowest net favorable score, at 0.