Kish said that a good campaign team is not enough.

“This political operation they set up might be a first tier operation, but the fact is they have a second tier candidate,” he said.

What most everyone agrees on is the fact that Pawlenty is going to need significant financial resources. The deadline for second quarter fundraising is Thursday, and Pawlenty’s campaign has been low-balling what it expects to bring in – saying they are likely to raise just a few million dollars. Pawlenty aides have suggested that this is more than sufficient for what the campaign needs, but some of observers are skeptical.

“They’re trying to downplay expectations because they realize they’re going to undershoot what the perception is,” said the veteran strategist. “If he doesn’t show that he’s raised over 8 or 9 million dollars, I don’t know how he expects to keep pace with anybody because given where he is in the polls, they need money.”

“If he’s not close to Romney, and he’s not close to Bachmann, and he’s been at this for a year, then he’s not a first tier candidate. Period,” said Nevada-based Republican strategist Chuck Warren.