Cain, Romney Neck-And-Neck In Iowa Poll - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cain, Romney Neck-And-Neck In Iowa Poll

USATODAY.COM - With Herman Cain and Mitt Romney neck-and-neck in the influential Iowa Poll, the results could put more pressure on the survey leaders to spend more time campaigning there as the GOP presidential race intensifies.

Cain has surged to the top spot in the Iowa Poll, published by the Des Moines Register on Saturday night, and leads Romney 23% to 22%. That essentially mirrors what is going on nationally, with the former pizza executive edging the ex-Massachusetts governor in recent surveys.

The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 3 and neither candidate has spent much time there this year.

Romney "needs to come to Iowa and remind people he really wants to be president," Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University, told USA TODAY. "But I don't think he needs to do what Cain has not done, and needs to do, which is organize a ground organization to get his supporters to convince people on caucus night."

Cain recently hired Steve Grubbs, a former Iowa Republican Party executive director, to be his campaign manager in the state.

For Cain, Schmidt notes, the challenge will be stepping up his retail politics and spending more one-on-one time with Iowans, who relish being able to meet and talk to presidential candidates every four years.

"Iowans want to ask questions, they don't want to listen to a speech," he said.

Romney has vowed to campaign "again and again" for the support of Iowa voters, but has only visited three times this year. Unlike the rest of the GOP field, Romney has strong name ID in Iowa left over from his 2008 campaign, when he finished second to Mike Huckabee in the state's GOP caucuses.

Romney has been staking his 2012 candidacy on winning the New Hampshire primary to seize momentum for victories in other early, key states.

Full Iowa Poll results are available through the Register's Iowa Caucuses website page. The basic poll numbers on support for the GOP presidential nomination:

  • Cain - 23%
  • Romney - 22%
  • Ron Paul - 12%
  • Michele Bachmann - 8%
  • Newt Gingrich - 7%
  • Rick Perry - 7%
  • Rick Santorum - 5%
  • Jon Huntsman - 1%
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