Politics
Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a town hall meeting at the Fort Dodge GOP Headquarters, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011, in Fort Dodge, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a town hall meeting at the Fort Dodge GOP Headquarters, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011, in Fort Dodge, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)  

Rick-mentum: Iowa voters knee deep in Santorum

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Will Rahn
Senior Editor

Rick Santorum, who has essentially lived in Iowa for much of the last year, may finally be taking off in the Hawkeye State.

A CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday indicates Santorum is now in third place among likely Iowa caucus-goers, with 16 percent support. That’s an 11-point jump from just one week ago, and a sign that his campaign may have picked up serious momentum with less than a week to go before the caucuses.

Despite lacking the money and resources enjoyed by many of his rivals, Santorum appears to be benefiting from his dogged campaigning throughout each one of Iowa’s 99 counties. The former Pennsylvania senator has also attracted endorsements from prominent evangelical leaders in the state, and is gaining traction among the social conservatives who tend to dominate the Iowa caucuses every four years.

“Most of Santorum’s gains have come among likely caucus participants who are born-again or evangelical, and he now tops the list among that crucial voting bloc, with support from 22% of born-again compared to 18% for Paul, 16% for Romney, and 14% for Gingrich,” CNN polling director Keating Holland said in a statement.

According to the poll, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is now in first place with 25 percent support, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 22 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was the front-runner in Iowa earlier this month, has dropped to fourth place with 14 percent support.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose well-funded campaign has been blanketing the Iowa airwaves with television ads, finds himself stuck in fifth place with 11-percent support. He is followed by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann with 9 percent, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman with 1 percent support. (RELATED: Full coverage of Rick Santorum)

The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

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