Romney tops Iowa, Santorum surges: poll

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:26am EST

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivers remarks in the Gold Room at the Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, Iowa, December 27, 2011. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivers remarks in the Gold Room at the Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, Iowa, December 27, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jeff Haynes

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney has clinched a lead in the Iowa caucuses vote next week and Rick Santorum is surging, according to a new poll commissioned by CNN and Time magazine.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor whose unsuccessful presidential run in 2008 took a heavy hit when he lost Iowa, was at 25 percent of the vote, 3 points ahead of Texas congressman Ron Paul.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator and social conservative, has moved into third place, earning the vote of 16 percent of Iowa voters surveyed by the news organizations six days before the caucuses kick off the 2012 election cycle on January 3.

Santorum's strong standing is a blow to the fortunes of Paul who had been leading in many Iowa polls.

"We've always felt like we could trust the people of Iowa," Santorum told CNN in an interview.

In recent weeks, party watchers have wondered which candidate would win the votes of Iowa's many evangelical voters.

The Republican candidates are competing for their party's nomination to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama in an election in November next year.

Santorum received the endorsement of one of the state's top Christian leaders, Bob Vander Plaats of The Family Leader group.

The poll surveyed 457 registered Republicans who are likely to attend the caucuses. Paul's campaign counts as key to its strength its ability to attract Democrats and independents, who can participate in the caucuses if they enroll in the Republican Party on January 3.

In the CNN interview, Santorum criticized Paul's record as a legislator.

"Ron doesn't have a very long record of actually passing anything in Washington, D.C.," Santorum said.

(Reporting By Samuel P. Jacobs)

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Comments (15)
TomPeppermint wrote:
Just remember everyone, Iowa is very important! Unless Ron Paul wins of course, then it is a complete farce for some reason…

Dec 29, 2011 8:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
crbob wrote:
All of the liberal socialist media are hyping this and wishing it were true, however Ron Paul is the leader by far in the Iowa caucus…

Dec 29, 2011 8:40am EST  --  Report as abuse
SavageNation wrote:
Red Jane Fonda’s CNN + Time like Gov. Romneycare.

That means Ron Pal is way ahead.

You can’t WILL a candidate to win by phony, rigged, bias and suppressed polls.

We’ll see what really happens next week…

Dec 29, 2011 8:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
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