Friday, November 12, 2010

The T-Pawmentum builds

While PPP was in the field polling the Governor's race they were also asking about Presidential preference in 2012, here are the results for Minnesota.

Public Policy Polling (10/30, likely voters, no trend lines):
Tim Pawlenty: 19
Sarah Palin: 18
Mike Huckabee: 14
Mitt Romney: 11
Newt Gingrich: 11
Mitch Daniels: 3
Mike Pence: 3
John Thune: 2
Someone else/Undecided: 18
(MoE: ±4.4%)

This is the first poll of 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls showing Tim Pawlenty in double digits, that shouldn't be surprising since this is his home state. If anything 19% has to be somewhat discouraging, but then again, the GOP presidential campaign has yet to begin.

At about this time in 2006 Rudy Giuliani was seen as the top GOP contender and no one knew who Mike Huckabee was. A year later Rudy's campaign was in free fall and Huckabee was one of the front runners. I'm sure I don't need to go over what happened on the Democratic side.

Nate Silver recently posted an average of the polls so far the GOP contenders, it breaks down as follows.

Tim Pawlenty: 5
Sarah Palin: 17
Mike Huckabee: 18
Mitt Romney: 21
Newt Gingrich: 14
Mitch Daniels: 3
Mike Pence: 2
John Thune: 2

So let's see where Pawlenty's increased support in Minnesota is coming from by subtracting the polling average from PPP's numbers.

Tim Pawlenty: +14
Sarah Palin: +1
Mitch Daniels: 0
John Thune: 0
Mike Pence: -1
Newt Gingrich: -3
Mike Huckabee: -4
Mitt Romney: -10

This shouldn't be that surprising, Pawlenty's increased support in Minnesota doesn't have any effect on Sarah Palin, or the lesser knowns. He has some moderate effect on Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, but the real victim here is Mitt Romney.

This is Pawlenty's real challenge, the GOP voters he appeals to most are the same voters that Mitt Romney is going after and Mitt Romney is already an established national brand within the Republican party.

More than anything I think this poll highlights just how difficult it will be for Tim Pawlenty to brake through in a highly contested GOP race when there is already an established figure occupying the same political space.

This is what worries me, because there is one super obvious way that Pawlenty could galvanize national teabagger support for his campaign almost overnight and I think you know what I'm talking about, The Dark Scenario, as WineRev calls it.

There is already a GOP Presidential debate scheduled for early spring 2011, so it's won't be too long before we get to see the race to the bottom that will be the GOP Presidential nomination contest. Let's just hope that when this debate happens Tim Pawlenty isn't still Governor.

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