Herman Cain and Mitt Romney are at the top of the pack in Iowa, according to a new Des Moines Register poll released Saturday night.
The survey of likely caucusgoers showed Cain, the former pizza chain executive, leading all Republican presidential hopefuls with 23%. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is just 1 point behind; Texas Rep. Ron Paul placed third with 12%.
Romney narrowly led in the last Register poll, conducted in June, at 23%, followed by Michele Bachmann at 22%. Bachmann, who won the Iowa Republican straw poll in August, has now faded to fourth with 8%.
Cain’s surge -- he was at 10% in June -- comes even though he has not spent substantive time in the state since August. Romney has favored other early-voting states more than Iowa. But both place well ahead of the field with two months left until the Jan. 3 caucuses.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who entered the race just after the straw poll, is tied with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 7%. Rick Santorum, who recently touted the fact that he has now visited all of the Hawkeye State’s 99 counties, is at 5%. Jon Huntsman, who is not competing in the state, is at 1%.
The Register’s poll, conducted by the Des Moines-based Selzer & Company, is considered the most reliable poll of voters in the leadoff caucus state. The most recent survey was conducted Oct. 23 to 26 from a sample of 400 likely caucusgoers, and had a margin of error of 4.9%
The Register will release more details on Sunday.