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Paul, Santorum near Romney

Dec. 31, 2011 at 11:12 PM   |   Comments

DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are giving Mitt Romney a run for his money in Iowa, the latest poll tracking the Republican presidential hopefuls indicated Saturday.

With Iowa's GOP caucuses looming on Tuesday, The Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows Romney has been unable to establish himself as the dominant presidential hopeful in the first state in the nation to hold its nominating process. The poll gave the former Massachusetts governor 24 percent to 22 percent for Paul, a congressman from Texas, and 15 percent for Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich came in at 12 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 11 percent and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was at 7 percent.

The poll of 2,527 registered Republican and independent voters was conducted Tuesday through Friday and has a 4 percentage point margin of error.

The newspaper said when the final two days of polling are considered alone, Romney stays at 24 percent but Santorum moves into second with 21 percent and Paul is third at 18 percent.

Other recent polls have shown Paul in a statistical dead heat with Romney and Santorum charging hard.

"Momentum's name is Rick Santorum," the Register's pollster, J. Ann Selzer, said.

The poll also found 41 percent of likely caucus-goers say they might still change their minds.

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