A new survey by the Des Moines Register shows Mitt Romney leading the pack in Iowa, with Michelle Bachmann in a statistical dead heat with Romney for the lead. Romney is polling at 23%, Bachmann at 22%, and Herman Cain is running third at 10%. Meanwhile some of the bigger names are way behind, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul tied at 7%, Tim Pawlenty is at 6%, Rick Santorum at 4%, and Jon Huntsman has surged to 2%.
The poll continues the good news for Bachmann, who will be spending more time and resources in Iowa in the next month. It is early, but the results have to be alarming for Pawlenty, who finds himself in a real bad spot with these numbers. He has been spending time and money here, and these results show that so far he has been an underwhelming candidate. And speaking of underwhelming the Huntsman number, even though he is not competing here, should be a sign of things to come for him. His drive to crack 4% continues.
The poll appears to leave open a preference for a new candidate: (From the Register)
Indeed, results indicate Iowa Republicans would be receptive to additional candidates in the race. Just 14 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers say their minds are made up about their choice in the presidential race. Another 14 percent don’t have a first choice yet. Sixty-nine percent say they could be persuaded to support a candidate other than their first choice.
So Governor Rick Perry will continue with his flirtation, but the clock is ticking, with the best potential alternative to Romney appearing to be Michelle Bachmann. The Politico story is here.