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Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty, Thursday Night’s Most Popular Guys

The most common knock on former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty’s presidential aspirations is that he has low name ID.

Thursday night, at the first Republican presidential debate of the 2012 cycle, sponsored by the South Carolina GOP and Fox News, he’ll be the second-most-supported candidate on the stage. (On-stage frontrunner? Ron Paul!) The event features only five candidates: Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Paul,  Pawlenty and Rick Santorum.

A poll out today:

When Republicans and independent voters leaning Republican name their 2012 presidential primary preference, Romney gets 18 percent, with Huckabee and Palin at 15 percent each and Trump at 12 percent. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul have 5 percent each. Two Minnesotans, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachman, get 4 percent each.

Johnson and Santorum scored 1 percent each; the pollsters of Quinnipiac did not list Cain as an option.

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