January 1, 2012
Mitt Romney held a narrow lead over Republican Representative Ron Paul as Rick Santorum had a late surge in the most closely followed state poll released just three days before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.
The Iowa Poll by the Des Moines Register newspaper, published late yesterday, shows the former Massachusetts governor with the support of 24 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers, up from 16 percent in the poll a month ago. Paul, from Texas, had the backing of 22 percent.
Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who has spent more time in Iowa than any of the Republican candidates, is seeing the benefits of his labor. The poll shows him in third place at 15 percent, although the newspaper said he surged in the final two days the sampling was conducted.
The last two days of the Dec. 27-30 survey “were a whole new ballgame for Rick Santorum,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of West Des Moines-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the Register’s poll. “If he continues on this trajectory, he can win. He benefits from Romney holding steady — not getting stronger with increased time in the state, and from a rather dramatic slide by Ron Paul.”