Minnesotans give President Obama and Gov. Tim Pawlenty roughly equal grades for the job they're doing, but it's no contest when the two are matched in a hypothetical 2012 presidential run.
According to a new poll by the St. Cloud State University Survey Center, 49 percent of those polled said they'd vote for Obama, while 39.7 percent said they'd vote for Pawlenty.
Obama received 54 percent of the vote in Minnesota last year; in neither of his runs for governor did Pawlenty crack 50 percent.
While Obama almost certainly will run for reelection in three years, Pawlenty hasn't said whether he will seek the presidency, despite his furious recent stumping around the country.
When it comes to assessing the job performance of the two, 50 percent of Minnesotans say Obama deserves "pretty good" or "excellent" marks, while 49 percent grade Pawlenty that way.
Forty-seven percent grade Obama's performance as fair or poor, compared to 48 percent who grade Pawlenty that way.
For the poll, 550 adult Minnesotans were interviewed between Oct. 26 and Nov. 4. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.