Romney Leads Iowa Poll 2 Days Before Caucus

Posted December 31st, 2011 at 10:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Mitt Romney is the Republican front-runner in Iowa in the final days before the first voting in the 2012 presidential election, leading Ron Paul by two points.

The Des Moine Resister poll out Saturday gave the former Massachusetts governor 24 percent support to 22 percent for libertarian U.S. Representative Paul, while social conservative Rick Santorum surged into third place with 15 percent and Newt Gingrich was fourth with 12 percent.

Texas Governor Rick Perry was behind Gingrich with 11 percent while Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who won Iowa's August straw poll, sagged to 7 percent.

With the stakes high, the candidates crisscrossed Iowa Saturday to boost support and sway undecided voters.

While the winner of the Iowa caucus may not go on to win a party nomination, or the presidency, a poor showing in the state may force some candidates to drop out of the race.

University of Iowa political science professor Timothy Hagle tells VOA that Romney's staying power trumps that of other candidates.

“Quite frankly, Romney is prepared for the long haul, unlike some of the other candidates, and so if these other candidates, whether its Gingrich or Santorum or any of the others, if they don't get a sufficient bounce coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire, they won't get the fundraising bump that they need to be able to go longer into the Super Tuesday states.”

Meanwhile, the only woman in the field of candidates, Michele Bachmann, greeted supporters at an eatery in the town of Early. Bachmann, who has seen single-digit support in Iowa, pledged tax reform and a repeal of President Obama's health care reform. Bachmann predicted she would do well in the caucuses.

Jon Huntsman, who was President Obama's ambassador to China, is focusing his campaign on New Hampshire, the second state scheduled to vote on a nominee. That northeastern state holds its primary January 10.

In the latest survey in that state, Romney holds a strong lead, supported by 44 percent of likely primary voters, followed again by Paul.