(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.
I really hope Ron Paul wins this
Ron Paul is way to Real for politics.. he will NEVER be the president of our great nation, even if he does win, US is not run by 1 person anyways, best example is our 1 term pres obama.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul for president 2012!!!
i hope paul wins
I will NEVER vote for Romney in an Obama-Romney election. And I will never vote for Obama......but I will vote for Ron Paul in a Paul-Obama election. I LOATHE Romney........................and I am a Republican!!!!
Don't care. I want to know what they are doing to find Baby Lisa!
...keep doctoring those numbers, Ron Paul is going to change your country either way
Rick Santorum is totally unelectable. His foreign policy is lunacy and will never be accepted by any decent American.
He admitted yesterday that the only reason we are in the middle east is to protect the oil supply.
You may be willing to have your son or daughter die in foreign wars to keep gas in your tank, but most Americans are not.
Paul looks too much like the leader of the Comet Suicide Sect Sneaker People.
Ron Paul is ahead. The poll numbers cited are fudged.
The GOP circus goes on. The leaders of party of clowns GOP has already picked their nominee. They have been bought and paid by Romney. They will not allow anti Romney candidate to succeed. Romney is a democrat in a Republican suit. The conservatives have been left out. Ron Paul should run as an independent and get votes from both the parties and independent votes. Michelle Bachmann is a joke. She is hoping the Romney to pick her as a VP. It's not going to happen. She is twisted and weird.
Cute, except that CNN doesn't mention that it's not accounting for Democrats and Independent voters that may be voting for Ron Paul in the caucus (Iowa GOP allows you to register Republican the day of the caucus). The numbers CNN cites are only for registered Republicans.
For a news network, CNN lacks transparency. Even in the technology sector reports and performance claims are at least backed up by test details or white papers. CNN doesn't even have the decency to release the specifics of their numbers.
If you want a lobby-bought flip-flopp'in politician, vote for Romney
Vote for freedom. NOT more wars!!
-RON PAUL 2012-
Hopefully this will kill Rick Perry's campaign and eliminate the possibility of a fourth lousy president from Texas Johnson, Bush & Bush all brought nothing but pain to this country... and... it just occurred to me... all three major conflicts in the past 50 years: Viet Nam, Gulf War I and Iraq. It gets more interesting. And actually Eisenhower (Korea) was born in Texas – though raised in Kansas. I see a pattern, LOL.
Want endless wars? want a continuation of the racist drug war here at home? want a further degradation of civil rights? want a police state? want the federal government telling you how to live your life? want the income tax to keep staling your money?
then dont vote for Ron Paul.
obviously, Ron Paul 2012
I am a naturalized citizen. Came in 1989 on student visa. Got an MS & MBA 17+ ears experience in offshore oil industry. My first vote as a US citizen will go for Mitt Romney if he vetoes Dream Act. Make it happen Mitt.
it's obvious that republicans dont really want romney but that's all they got !!!!!
surely not the nut job paul, maybe santorum !
Ron Paul 2012 Ron Paul 2012 Ron Paul 2012 this is his third time running. 3rd time is a charm. He is the only one who can balance the budget and Do what he says he will do. Everyone else says this and that but are not really nowhere near qualified like Sir Ron Paul is. Yes Paul is old but very wise and im sure he will bring a good vice president in to run with him. Dont listen to negative posts about him. you can look at him and listen and tell he is an honest man that really does care about are USA and wants to make it a better place. Go Go Go Ron Paul and get your vote right this time.
It's Paul vs. Warmongering Obama... guess who wins
Don't care. I want to know what they are doing to find Baby Lisa!
CNN is reporting that Obama is running an ad slamming Romney on healthcare.
new poll shows obama wants to run against Romney