(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.