Tim Pawlenty Reality Check

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some political observers, like the New Republic's Jonathan Chait, have called boring/glaring-flaw-free Tim Pawlenty the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. "I’m not going to proclaim Pawlenty a lock or even an outright favorite," Chait wrote a couple of weeks ago. "But I do see him as the leading contender ... In a wide-open field, Pawlenty is where I’d place my bet." It's very, very early — around this time in the last election, Rudy Giuliani was the clear leader, and we know how that worked out — but if Pawlenty is going to win the nomination, he has a lot of ground to make up. A Gallup poll released today shows the Minnesotan currently attracting just 3 percent support from Republican voters. Even if Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin don't run, Pawlenty only nudges up to 4 percent support, far behind Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Meanwhile, the huge liability that everyone assumes will destroy Romney — RomneyCare — is probably a bit overblown. A different poll this week, by the highly respected Pew Research Center, has Romney getting more support from tea partiers than any other candidate.

Huckabee Has Slight Edge, Palin Down, in GOP '12 Preferences [Gallup]