Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who this week became the first major Republican to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, has 41% name recognition among Republicans nationwide. He trails a number of other potential GOP presidential candidates on this measure.
Let’s face it, former Minnesota Governor tim Pawlenty will NOT be the 2012 Presidential nominee. Pawlenty is really running for either the 2012 Vice Presidential nomination or for 2016 when there will not be an incumbent President running for re-election.
Here is a chart on intensity scores:
The bottom line:
Name recognition is a necessary ingredient in a politician’s race to win his or her party’s nomination for president. The last eight Republicans who won their party’s presidential nomination — John McCain, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Barry Goldwater — were well-known and well-established politicians. Even George W. Bush, who was a state governor with no national experience in the year before he won the Republican nomination, had a recognition score of over 80% when Gallup first measured him in February 1999, albeit aided in part by his famous last name.
Additionally, Barack Obama, who stands as an example of an individual who came from relative obscurity to national prominence, had a name recognition score of over 75% by March 2007, the year before he gained the Democratic nomination.
Pawlenty and Barbour thus face a serious challenge as they begin their quests to gain their party’s nomination. Well under half of their party’s rank-and-file members across the country at this point, less than a year before the first primaries and caucuses take place, know who they are. Both Pawlenty and Barbour, as well as other Republicans who are expected to formally announce their candidacies over the next few months, will be crisscrossing the country for the remainder of the year in an effort to make themselves known — and liked — by potential GOP primary voters. Gallup’s weekly tracking and reporting on the name recognition and Positive Intensity Scores of potential Republican presidential candidates will gauge how successful the candidates are in these endeavors.