(CNN) – Mitt Romney and Ron Paul remain neck-and-neck in Iowa among likely Republican caucus-goers, according to a poll released Saturday by the state's largest newspaper.
The Des Moines Register poll showed Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, with 24% and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 22%. The No. 3 spot went to former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania with 15%, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 12%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 11% and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota with 7%.
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The poll was conducted Tuesday through Friday but results from just Thursday and Friday considered separately showed Santorum in second place with 21% and Paul third with 18% while Romney remained steady at 24%.
The Register poll is the last major one expected before Tuesday's caucuses, when the first votes of the 2012 race will be cast.
A senior Romney strategist told CNN that the "mood is positive" and that Team Romney is "a confident campaign, but not an arrogant one," adding that "the campaign is taking nothing for granted."
The latest poll follows an NBC/Marist poll and a CNN/Time/ORC International poll released earlier in the week that showed a close contest for the No. 1 spot between Romney and Paul.
The NBC survey released Friday showed Romney with 23% support and Paul with 21%. Santorum received 15% followed by Perry with 14% and Gingrich with 13%. Six percent indicated they would back Bachmann.
Wednesday's CNN results of likely GOP caucus participants indicated Romney and Paul statistically tied for the top spot, with 25% and 22% respectively. It also showed a surging Santorum with 16% support and a waning Gingrich with 14%. Perry received 11% followed by Bachmann at 9% and Huntsman at 1%.
The Des Moines Register poll released shortly before the state caucuses in 2008 closely mirrored the eventual election results. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee topped the December poll with 32% and went on to with the contest with 34% of the vote. Romney's poll figures also closely mirrored the election results. He garnered 26% in the poll compared to 25% in the January contest.
The Register poll surveyed 602 likely caucus goers between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30 with a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The sampling error for the final two days of polling was plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.
- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.
Ron Paul is the only republican that doesn't have the brain of a pig, he's also doing the right thing money wise so definitly my fav.
They need a continuous loop video showing WTC Building 7 falling in 8 seconds and then the 1500 Architects and Engineers explaining how it was imploded.
The Man who speaks the truth and makes the most sense and the others whom support the Patriot Act.
RON PAUL 2012
NEWS.... Romney and Paul close to winning the blessing of the corn fed folks in Iowa.
Ron Paul 2012
Help, help, I'm being oppressed! – Ron Paul 2012
How will Bachmann go home and show her face? Last place. Now if if the voters in her district would fire her, Congress would be a better place.
I have worked hard my entire life, paid my bills, never even had a speeding ticket. I am sick and tired of the media and these so called political talkshow hosts talking about how Ron Paul isn't electable or that he won't be the GOP nominee. I've met Dr. Paul in Washington,DC he took time to try and help with a problem NC was having, the National Park Service murdering our animals, hundreds of them, a story no media will touch either. He is a saving grace for this country, I'm in my fifties and I voted for him in 2008. He is not a kook, or racist, he is a godsend that every day more and more people are finding out about. Ron Paul 2012. I wouldn't vote for Gingrich for my trash collector , Romney is completely out of touch with what is really going on, stop trash talking Ron Paul, he has more support than any of you realize!
Come on Ron Paul – pull a win out! Rooting from you from Florida! You're the only one that believes what you say and just doesn't do talking points that your handlers tell you to say.
Since we have turned further away from our pro-life roots, social security has been severely affected since there aren't enough young people contributing SS tax revenue for the program to work. I hope we as a nation will begin to see the connection between abortion and economic downturn. Hopefully the next candidate will push to bring America back.I recently travelled to Indonesia where there is rapid development taking place in spite of poverty. People are breeding like bunnies and the workforce is teeming. We need a total sea change if we are to remain strong and not fade out into the background as Rome did. This not about religion but about sound politics.
There are more important and interesting things happening in this country and the world today than the Iowa Caucuses featuring the latest bunch of GOP turkeys! What passes for news coverage today is pathetic!
You know the world is coming to a end when Republicans think Paul, Perry, Newt, Bachmann or Santorum could be our next President. Is this what you have to offer the rest of the country ....really. Paul..crazy, Perry..dumb, Newt..lobbyist, Bachmann...liar, Sanorum..hates Americans not like him. This is what you have to offer.
IF Paul can pull this off, then Iowans aren't too bright a bunch this election year are they? I pray they get enough lube to pull their heads outta of their netherregends before they go to vote and actually choose Romney, not that the flip flopper is much better, but at least he's NOT Paul nor Perry! I'm confident in the fact that if Paul, Perry or Bachmann get the nomination AND actually win, this country is in for a world of hurt, and Dec. 21, 2012 just might be true and not fiction....
What a cast of misfits. Seriualy is the best of the best the GOP has to offer ???
Now factor in the potential cell phone people voters. lmao Paul in 2nd? I don't think so.
You would think Iowa was picking the next president with the coverage they get. It's a too white small state that shouldn't ALWAYS get to go first. I think everyone should send money to all the candidates that finish 4th or lower as a protest.
Romney vs Paul in Ia. also in Va.
Ron Paul 2012!
Romney and Paul were caught hugging and crying uncontrollably. When asked what happened they said in unison "Kum by ah"
With the blessing of the supreme court the negative and untruthful ads of the super pac's appear to be influencing the Iowa sheep enough to drive them toward the wofe. He who has the most money wins unless we break the sheep mentality. Isn't that how it works in the 3rd world, not to mention banana republics? I recon we may still call it a democracy but how not to feel the shame of "presidency for sale"
With Obama signing a bill allowing he military to arrest american citizens without warrant or due process and hold them indefinately – it's clear what type of country we've decided to become.
This was past with bipartisan support and signed by a Democratic president. Only one candidate is actually against this type of thing, Ron Paul.
Frankly if you are againt this type of thing, there isn't much choice of who to vote for – Ron Paul is the only candidate.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of Ron Paul's chances, his supporters should insist that his ideals be part of the Republican platform. Otherwise, there is no way that the Republicans can win without their support. Like it or not, he holds the key to their success against Obama.
Nate is now forecasting Romney over Paul as well.
Conservatives are having a hard time choosing a consensus candidate because, frankly, one candidate is as bad as the other. If this is the best they can produce, President Obama will win hands down. LOL I love it.