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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is leading the field in both early nominating contests going into tonight’s Bloomberg-Washington Post debate, with businessman Herman Cain the nearest opponent in both Iowa and New Hampshire.While he has a 30-point lead over his competitors in New Hampshire, Romney leads with 23 per cent of likely Iowa caucus-goers to the Cain’s 20 per cent. They are trailed by Rep. Ron Paul with 11 per cent, and Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry tied at 10 per cent.
The New Hampshire results are expected, given how heavily Romney has invested himself in the first-in-the-nation primary state. But the results in Iowa, a state Romney has largely ignored this cycle after contesting the caucuses and losing them in 2008, are surprising.
The NBC News-Marist poll is the most substantive poll of Iowa caucus-goers since Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign began to flounder late last month.
With less than three months to the caucuses, the poll shows substantial fracturing among ‘anti-Romney’ voters, who have yet to unify behind a candidate. If it continues, this disarray may provide Romney a window to win the early state, before breezing through the Granite State primary onto the nomination.
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