Mitt Romney tops latest poll in Iowa

Mitt Romney’s momentum in Iowa continues to translate into stronger poll numbers for his presidential campaign in the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

The former Massachusetts governor was atop the NBC News-Marist poll released today, his second such showing in three days after trailing Newt Gingrich and others for much of the past three months.

Romney garnered 23 percent of likely Iowa voters, who head to the caucuses Tuesday. Representative Ron Paul followed with 21 percent.

Echoing the CNN-Time poll released on Wednesday, the new survey shows Rick Santorum is surging. The former senator from Pennsylvania placed third at 15 percent, with Texas Governor Rick Perry at 14 percent.

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Gingrich, who led several polls in Iowa before a battery of negative ads exposed vulnerabilities and inconsistencies in his record, fell to fifth place, with 13 percent.

Until this week, Romney had maintained a relatively low profile in the state. Buoyed by overflowing crowds, Romney has toured the eastern part of the state the past few days. After a brief trip to New Hampshire, Romney will return to Iowa tomorrow.

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