Political Disenchantment Affects 2012 GOP Hopefuls

Bumped. -N

Nation-wide discontentment with politics and politicians isn’t unique Democrats. Populists and workers are ticked at both parties. According to PPP, only four of the 38 Senators they’ve polled on have approval ratings above 50%.

To be fair, three of those four are Republicans, and all six of the Senators with disapprovals above 50% are Democrats. All six, however, are tainted or conservative Democrats, expressing the progressive base’s frustration with inaction as much as the nation’s frustration with politics.

I don’t want to read too much into this and say that the main problem is that Democrats aren’t progressive enough. That would be too much like the Republicans who said Obama only won because the Republican Party wasn’t conservative enough. It should be noted, though, that save John Thune, 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls are no more shielded from this discontent than are Democrats. This really is a political backlash, not a partisan backlash. For example, according to Politico, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s approval rating is at an all-time low.

An analysis of over 70 public polls — 50 of which came from SurveUSA — since Pawlenty took office more than seven years ago conducted by the University of Minnesota shows that the governor's 42 percent approval rating in a recent poll of 500 Minnesotans is his low point.

The poll was conducted March 1-3 and was sponsored by the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis. Pawlenty's previous low came in July 2005, when 43 percent of Minnesotan's approved of his performance as governor.

Pawlenty might be the only 2012 hopeful at an all-time low, but while he may be the only one below the barrel’s bottom, there are still several at the bottom. His nosedive comes on the heels of Mitt Romney losing the CPAC straw poll for the first time since 2005. Mike Huckabee’s chances were severely damaged when a criminal whose sentence he commuted as Governor killed several Seattle police officers. And we’re all familiar with polls that show even a majority of Republicans don’t consider qualified for the job. Unfortunately I can’t find current data on Haley Barbour or Mitch Daniels.

There’s no predicting a presidential race almost three years out. I’m not going to say that this means we’re more likely to see a nominee Thune than a nominee Pawlenty. What I will say is that anyone who thinks something more than three weeks away is ever a sealed deal in politics, including the Democrats’ fate in 2010 and 2012, stayed too long at a Wonderland 3D debut party.

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