An analyst with the Cook Political Report said Tuesday that former Gov. Tim Pawlenty appears to be a stronger candidate than U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the Washington, D.C., publication, said Pawlenty hasn't alienated members of the Republican Party the way Bachmann has.
"She's already had some missteps," Duffy told MPR's Morning Edition, referring to Bachmann's recent incorrect statement that the Revolutionary War started in New Hampshire.
Bachmann must also wait for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to decide whether to run, because the two can't both be in the race, Duffy said.
As for Pawlenty's chances in a crowded field of candidates Duffy said she'll be watching his fundraising numbers in the next few months. She said the fact that he isn't polling well so far doesn't matter.
"I don't think the early polls are really that big a deal, especially in this race, which is so wide open. [Former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt] Romney is a frontrunner only because he does have that name ID," she said.
Still, Pawlenty has a long way to go in the money race as well. He has raised about $2 million so far, but Duffy said the cost of a run in 2012 will exceed $100 million.
The exploratory committee Pawlenty formed Monday will help make it easier to raise money and reach out to voters across the country, Duffy said.
"[The committee] can get much more involved in direct activities that benefit Pawlenty," she said.