Poll: Obama would beat Pawlenty if election held nowby Mike Mulcahy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A new poll by St. Cloud State University shows President Obama would defeat Gov. Tim Pawlenty if the 2012 presidential election were held today.
The poll show 49 percent of people would vote for Obama compared to 40 percent who would vote for Pawlenty. The president and the governor had similar job approval ratings. As far as approval ratings go, 49 percent say Pawlenty is doing a pretty good to excellent job, while 50 percent say the same about Obama.
St. Cloud State political science professor Steve Frank says Obama's rating reflects continuing problems with the economy.
"We like Barack Obama, but this is a little lower on his job rating than I think an incumbent president would like at this stage," Frank said.
Frank says it's far too early to know if the two would ever run against each other, but the results are interesting.
"Obviously if I were one of his opponents I would say 'if this holds up and if other surveys show the same thing, I would say 'geez, you're kind of weak even in your own state, how could you be a national candidate?'" he said. "That's probably going beyond the data, but if I were Mitt Romney or whoever I'm sure I'd be circulating this to potential givers and things like that."
The poll also shows only 43 percent of people believe the state is on the right track, and Frank says that could mean trouble for incumbents in next year's elections.
The poll of 550 people was conducted between Oct. 26 and Nov. 4. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.