Poll shows Romney, Bachmann leading in Iowa, Pawlenty way behind in 6th 

National Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney is leading the pack in Iowa with 23 percent of the vote, with Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., close behind at a statistically insignificant 22 percent in the Des Moine Register poll, which is considered the most reliable survey of the state. But Tim Pawlenty, who has spent 26 days in the state, which is central to his strategy for winning the nomination, is far behind, in sixth place at just 6 percent of the vote.

Bachmann won't formally announce her campaign until tomorrow, but she has a natural strength among more conservative voters in the state and likely benefited from a strong debate performance. Romney isn't competing as aggressively in Iowa as he was in 2007, but is already known there from last time, when he came in second with 25 percent of the vote.

It would be easy for Pawlenty to dismiss his poor performance in this poll as merely a matter of name recognition if it weren't for the fact that he's trailing former Godfather's pizza CEO Herman Cain, who polled third at 10 percent.

Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., were tied for fourth at seven percent, Rick Santorum is at four percent and Jon Huntsman, who isn't competing in Iowa, is at 2 percent.

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