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Santorum surges, Gingrich falls behind in Iowa: poll

Romney and Paul fight head-to-head for the lead while Santorum surges and Gingrich slides, according to a new poll.

Romney ad 2011 11 28Enlarge
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigning at the Nationwide Insurance building in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 23, 2011. (MARK KEGANS/Getty Images)

A new NBC News-Marist poll shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul running neck-and-neck in Iowa, Rep. Rick Santorum making gains and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich falling behind. 

Romney has a two-point lead ahead of Paul at 23 percent and 21 percent respectively. Santorum is in third with 15 percent of likely caucus-goers in Iowa drawing support for the Pennsylvania senator.

They are followed by Rick Perry at 14 percent, Gingrich at 13 percent and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at six percent.

More from GlobalPost: Michele Bachmann's Iowa chair Kent Sorenson abandons her for Ron Paul 

The latest percentages follow the recently published CNN/Time/ORC International survey, among other polls, that showed similar results. However, the biggest difference between the polls shows Gingrich losing his lead. He once held a 28 percent lead in Iowa.

More from GlobalPost: Iowa Poll: Romney leads, Gingrich falls behind 

The Guardian reports on how important an Iowa win can mean for frontrunner Romney:

“A strong finish in Iowa, the first of the contests to choose a Republican nominee to take on Barack Obama, would provide Romney with momentum for those that follow and could wrap up the race for the nomination by the end of the month. Romney would then face Obama for the White House in November.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111230/santorum-surges-gingrich-falls-behind-iowa-poll