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Frontrunners In Iowa Defying The Odds

My colleague Reid Wilson reported on results from the latest poll of Iowa Republican voters, which showed Herman Cain (20 percent) and Newt Gingrich (19 percent) deadlocked in first place, with Mitt Romney not far behind with 14 percent.

One conclusion to draw from the numbers: Spending time with voters isn't essential for success, even in a caucus state where voters trudge out in the cold of January to spend a day backing their favored candidates.

None of the top three candidates has spent much time lately in Iowa.  Cain is returning to the Hawkeye State tomorrow after spending nearly a month without visiting the state.  Gingrich didn't have a single campaign office open in Iowa until October - even though he's putting a renewed emphasis in the state lately   And Romney has only been to Iowa four times all year.

Meanwhile, the candidate who has spent the most time in Iowa - former Sen. Rick Santorum, who has visited every one of the Hawkeye State's 99 counties - didn't even hit five percent in the survey.   Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent lots of time in the state and poured money on advertisements introducing himself to Iowa voters - and his support has dropped in the last month.

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