2012 contender Pawlenty may face uphill 2010 reelection

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) may run for president in 2012, but must first decide whether or not to run for a third term as governor, a race a new poll Thursday indicated may be an uphill battle.

A SurveyUSA poll of Minnesotans released Thursday showed that 57 percent of voters said that Pawlenty shouldn't run for a third term in 2010.

41 percent of voters supported a third term for the incumbent Republican, while two percent were undecided.

For Pawlenty, a run for the governorship again could mean a sustained presence in political office before the 2012 presidential elections. It could also signal a deferred interest in seeking the top office until the 2016, so as to avoid going toe-to-toe with President Obama.

The prerecorded telephone poll of 500 adults, conducted May 11, has a 4.4 percent margin of error.