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PPP Polls Iowa: Paul 24, Romney 20, Gingrich 13

12:09 AM, Dec 28, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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PPP's latest Iowa poll

Ron Paul continues to lead Mitt Romney by a modest margin, 24-20. Newt Gingrich is in 3rd at 13% followed by Michele Bachmann at 11%, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum at 10%, Jon Huntsman at 4%, and Buddy Roemer at 2%.

Paul's strength in Iowa continues to depend on a coalition of voters that's pretty unusual for a Republican in the state.  Romney leads 22-20 with those who are actually Republicans, while Paul has a 39-12 advantage with the 24% who are either independents or Democrats. 

The poll was conducted December 26 and 27. PPP's previous poll, conducted December 16-18, showed Paul at 23%, Romney at 20%, Gingrich at 14%, Bachmann at 10%, Perry at 10%, and Santorum at 10%.  

Although Santorum hasn't moved, PPP notes he now has the highest net favorable rating and is the second choice of 14 percent of likely caucusgoers: 

Santorum actually has the best favorability numbers of any of the candidates at +27 (56/29). He's also the most frequent second choice of voters at 14%.  Whether he can translate any of this into a top 3 finish remains to be seen, but he's someone who would seem to have the potential to grow his support in the final week.

One thing that's hurt Santorum's ability to really make a move is that the Evangelical vote is incredibly fragmented with 6 different candidates getting between 12 and 21%. Paul actually leads the way with that group at 21% to 16% for Romney and Bachmann, 15% for Santorum, 14% for Gingrich, and 12% for Perry.

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