(CNN) – Republican Rep. Ron Paul said Tuesday his fellow Republicans' reluctance to get into the presidential race may have more to do with President Obama strengths than his weaknesses.
In an interview for CNN's "In the Arena" with Eliot Spitzer to be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, the Texas congressman said the potential Republican presidential contenders are being "cautious."
"They may believe that the president is stronger than most of the polls show." Paul said. "The president is liked a lot and in politics, being liked is very important. So, maybe they don't think he is as vulnerable as the polls indicate he might be."
Paul formally announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee Tuesday, taking another step toward a bid for the GOP nomination.
In a recent CNN Poll of Polls, 48 percent of Americans said they disapproved of Obama's handling of his job as president. President Obama's approval numbers dropped from 49 percent in January to 45 percent.
Rep. Paul will join others who have announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, including former Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain.
Paul, well-liked by some members of the Tea Party, has run for president twice, in 1988 as a nominee for the Libertarian Party and in 2008 for the Republican nomination. In February, Paul won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for the second year in a row, beating Romney.