This is interesting, and has to do with a lot more than Pawlenty’s home-court advantage in Minnesota, one of the bluest blue states out there in terms of Presidential politics.
Ed Morrissey dives into the poll numbers at Hot Air:
For Pawlenty, his strong performance in a state-wide poll is rather remarkable, since Democrats here have been trying to dump blame on him for the current budget impasse in order to deflect criticism of the in-over-his-head new governor, Mark Dayton. . . . Most impressively, Pawlenty comes within four points of Obama among Twin Cities voters, which are usually a Democratic stronghold. He also wins all other regions, including an 11-point margin in southern Minnesota, which is represented by Democrats in Congress . . .
However, another way to look at this is that Obama has suddenly become very, very vulnerable in a state where he should be showing considerable strength. Despite efforts in the last three electoral cycles by national conservative organizations, Minnesota hasn’t come very close to going red in a presidential election. Upper Midwestern progressivism still thrives in Minnesota, even if it has seriously waned in Wisconsin. Republicans didn’t win a single state-wide office in the 2010 elections despite taking control of both chambers of the state legislature and scoring an upset in MN-08 with Chip Cravaack’s win over 18-term Rep. Jim Oberstar. Now, suddenly, Obama can’t score better than a tie against a candidate who has yet to gain significant national traction?
If I was Tim Pawlenty, I’d be encouraged by these results. If I was in Obama’s White House, I’d be very, very worried about them.
This seems fundamentally correct: the numbers are good for Pawlenty, but quite startling for the President. Morrissey has a lot more analysis–and a mini-roundup–at the link, so read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Jeffrey Goldberg has a decent profile of Pawlenty here.