Results are in for the final poll of likely Iowa GOP caucus goers before the January 3 vote, and as it was during the early polls last April, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney sits on top.
The final tally for the Des Moines Register poll conducted Tuesday through Friday shows support at 24 percent for Romney, 22 percent for closely following Texas Rep. Ron Paul, 15 percent for surging former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, 12 percent for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, 11 percent for Texas Governor Rick Perry, and 7 percent for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. Poll conductors Selzer & Co. of Des Moines say the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The Register notes that the four-day results don’t reflect just how quickly momentum has shifted in recent months, and even days.
"If the final two days of polling are considered separately, Santorum rises to second place, with 21 percent, pushing Paul to third, at 18 percent. Romney remains the same, at 24 percent.
'Momentum’s name is Rick Santorum,' said the Register’s pollster, J. Ann Selzer."
If the ebbs and flows of this race haven't yet given you motion sickness, 41 percent of those surveyed say they could still be persuaded to change their minds.
Romney campaigned lightly in the state until December, but the Register notes the second place finisher in the last Iowa caucus benefits from the network he built 2008. During that campaign Romney was seen constantly in the state and poured $10 million into a heavy advertising schedule and a big campaign organization.
The New York Times notes that Register's late survey has long been seen as one of the most accurate indicators of what might happen on election day. In 2008, the Register poll accurately predicted victories by Barack Obamaand Mike Huckabee.
The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses kick-off Tuesday night.