Polling Pawlenty
12-02-2009
I came across this amusing item earlier today, in which Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty explains why he has faired so poorly in early horse race polling for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. A new Washington Post poll shows the usual suspects like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney topping the list of oft-mentioned conservatives, with Pawlenty down around one percent. Of course, any polling at this point is primarily picking up name recognition, rather than relative viability for the Republican nomination. Many political observers believe that when the time comes, Pawlenty will at least be in the candidate mix.
 
Pawlenty’s explanation that he is not well-known among the general voting public is accurate. But his earnestness in answering the question confirms his aspirations, and violates a cardinal rule of the invisible primary: never act like you are running for president, even as you lay the groundwork for doing so. Candidates typically deflect these kinds of questions by saying that it is not a priority at the moment, as they are too busy focusing all of their attention on issue x, whatever that might be. Pawlenty has mainly been raising his profile among Republican political elites thus far, which is a reasonable way to start, and flying under the political radar at this early point is not necessarily a bad thing either.


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