The State Column 
February 20, 2012
Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney defeated President Barack Obama in a Des Moines Register poll  of Iowa general election voters Sunday. Mr. Paul bested Mr. Obama by 7 percentage points (49 to 42) and Mr. Santorum bettered the president by 4 percentage points (48 to 44). Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney exceeded Mr. Obama by 2 percentage points (46 to 44).
Mr. Paul triumphed over Mr. Obama by a wider margin than Mr. Santorum, despite the fact that the Pennsylvania Republican won the Iowa Republican caucuses on January 3rd with 24.6 percent of the votes.
Mr. Paul and Mr. Santorum worked extremely hard in the Hawkeye State to gain supporters. The Pennsylvania Republican drove around Iowa  in a pickup truck shaking hands and the Texas congressman utilized his popularity among younger voters to implement a “Christmas Vacation with Ron Paul” program that deployed nearly 500 youth to knock on doors and make phone calls for the Republican candidate.
Mr. Obama fared much better against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The president defeated Mr. Gingrich by 14 percentage points (51 to 37). Although the Georgia Republican was a popular candidate among Iowa voters towards the end of 2011, Mr. Romney’s relentless attack ads  stripped Mr. Gingrich of his front-runner status in the Iowa Republican caucuses. Mr. Gingrich finished in fourth place with 13.3 percent of the votes.
The Des Moines Register poll of 800 adults and 611 likely voters in the general election was conducted from February 12th through February 15th. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points among likely voters.