The new survey of Minnesota from Public Policy Polling (D) finds President Obama leading various potential Republican challengers for 2012 — including the state’s departing governor, Tim Pawlenty. And not only that, but this poll has an extra-bad data point for Pawlenty. Mitt Romney actually does better in Minnesota than Minnesota’s governor.
Obama carried Minnesota by a 54%-44% margin against John McCain in 2008. The state has not voted Republican at the presidential level since the Nixon landslide of 1972. It was the only state to vote for its Democratic native son Walter Mondale in the Reagan landslide of 1984, but in fact he won it only narrowly.
In this poll, Obama leads Newt Gingrich by 51%-38%, leads Mike Huckabee by 50%-40%, and trounces Sarah Palin by 54%-36%. As it turns out, he leads Pawlenty by 51%-43%, but only leads Romney by 47%-42%.
The poll also gives Pawlenty an approval rating of only 43%, with a disapproval of 53%.
As PPP’s Tom Jensen writes, Pawlenty himself could be one of the reasons for Democrat Mark Dayton’s narrow win in the gubernatorial race in the middle of a very Republican year:
The importance of Pawlenty’s unpopularity shouldn’t be underestimated in Democrats picking up the Minnesota Governor’s office this year in an otherwise dreadful year for the party. While Democratic Gubernatorial candidates in many states were having to deal with the weight of an unpopular President and an unpopular Democratic Governor Mark Dayton benefited by having the impact of an an unpopular President at least partially balanced out by his opponent having to deal with the weight of an unpopular Republican Governor.
The survey of registered voters has a ±3.2% margin of error.