Gov. Tim Pawlenty has struggled in early 2012 presidential polling — consistently remaining in the single digits behind national names — but next week he’ll face a different kind of foe.

A national figure from his home state: Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann is included with Pawlenty and 15 others in the Values Voter Summit straw poll, which will be held next weekend in Washington. Most of the presumed Republican 2012 presidential candidates will be featured speakers at the three-day summit, and Bachmann and Pawlenty are both scheduled to speak (Pawlenty via pre-recorded video from as he will be in China).

In the summit’s straw poll last year, Pawlenty finished third behind former Govs. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. But this may be the first presidential poll that will pit Pawlenty directly against Bachmann.

Tom McClusky, a senior vice president for Family Research Council Action, which sponsors the summit, said Bachmann was included in the poll because she has “captured the national attention.”

McClusky said others, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, were also included for taking stands on national issues that put them in the spotlight.

“This list might be a little more eclectic than other years because it’s a midterm election year, and the presidential election is a couple years away,” McClusky said. “I think the large number shows how open the field is right now, and how a lot of conservatives are looking for a voice.”

Even if Bachmann isn’t mounting a campaign for president, her national profile as darling of the Tea Party has prompted  plenty of talk of a 2012 run — or a Palin/Bachmann ticket.

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