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Pawlenty Disapproval Numbers Increasing Amid VP Talk

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Although Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty is not beloved by all in the Gopher State, he has maintained a consistent level of job approval throughout his gubernatorial tenure. In nearly 60 public opinion polls of Minnesotans conducted since early 2003, Pawlenty has dipped below the 50 percent mark in job approval in less than 10 of them.

Pawlenty enjoyed some of the best marks of his career in 2007, when his most notable actions included a firm stance against the DFL on tax issues in the state. Overall, across more than a dozen polls that year, Pawlenty had an average job approval rating of 56 percent, with just a 40 percent average disapproval rating.

This +16 net rating is very impressive for a governor who never received a majority of the vote in either of his two successful gubernatorial campaigns.

However, as Pawlenty has become part of the constant chatter of possible vice-presidential running mates to John McCain, his ratings have taken a bit of a hit: Pawlenty’s disapproval numbers have averaged 45 percent this year, and his approval numbers have fallen a bit to 53 percent. His net approval rating has been cut in half to +8.

By another measure, Rasmussen has also measured Pawlenty’s rankings as higher in polls conducted at the end of 2007 (50 percent “excellent? + “good? versus 49 percent “fair? + “poor?) than compared to those conducted in 2008 (46 percent “excellent? + “good? versus 54 percent “fair? + “poor?) – a 9-point net approval drop.

It not at all clear that Minnesotans would rally behind Pawlenty as a VP nominee (Minnesotans have sent enough Vice-Presidents to D.C. that perhaps the novelty has worn off). A February 2008 SurveyUSA poll found just 28 percent of Gopher State residents think Pawlenty would be able to effectively campaign for vice president and serve as governor at the same time; 61 percent thought he would not.

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