(CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty defended his frequent out of state travel to key presidential nominating states and national GOP gatherings Wednesday, the same day a new poll showed a majority of Minnesota voters are unhappy with his frequent campaign jaunts.
"Well, I don't expect that people would like the fact that I'm trying to get around the country and influence the elections in 2010, but I think it's important work," Pawlenty told Fox News Wednesday.
Pawlenty has been a fixture at high profile Republican events across the country this cycle, and has made a string of appearances in early nominating states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Pawlenty's widely believed to be an all-but-announced White House hopeful, though he maintains his sole focus is on helping Republicans in the 2010 elections, and not 2012.
"I think the future of the country's at stake. I think the future of Minnesota's at stake if we don't get a better direction in these elections this fall, so I'm happy to do what I can, and I think it's important work, and I don't measure the value of it by what's important in any snapshot in time," he said.
"The polls come and go; the sentiment of the moments come and go, but I'm gonna do what's right. I think that will stand the test of time," he added.
According to the new survey from Minnesota Public Radio and the Humphrey Institute, 54 percent of Minnesotans aren't too keen on the governor's frequent out of state trips, which usually include visits to important presidential nominating states. Only 31 percent of voters approve of his busy travel schedule.
In even worse news for Pawlenty, the poll indicates Minnesota Republicans apparently would prefer Mitt Romney as their presidential choice than their own governor.
Stacked up against Romney, Pawlently loses 45-32 percent. In a matchup against Sarah Palin, Pawlenty comes out on top 59-24 percent.
The poll surveyed 750 likely voters by telephone between August 25-29 and carries a sampling error of plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.