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Another poll of Iowa shows a photo finish: an new InsiderAdvantage survey of likely caucus-goers shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 22.7 percent, followed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) at 22.4. The poll also shows the former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum making a late move with 18 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is fourth with 16.1 percent. The rest of the field is in single digits.

Over the weekend, Virginia attorney general (and gubernatorial hopeful) Ken Cuccinelli announced that he would try to get the four main candidates left off the Virginia primary ballot onto the ballot with emergency legislation. But Sunday, he appeared to change his mind completely, backing away from the idea. Cuccinelli comments, via RedState:




I obviously feel very strongly that Virginia needs to change its ballot access requirements for our statewide elections,” Cuccinelli said in a statement.



However, after working through different scenarios with Republican and Democratic leaders to attempt to make changes in time for the 2012 presidential election, my concern grows that we cannot find a way to make such changes fair to the Romney and Paul campaigns that qualified even with Virginia’s burdensome system.



A further critical factor that I must consider is that changing the rules midstream is inconsistent with respecting and preserving the rule of law — something I am particularly sensitive to as Virginia’s attorney general.

Muslims were the suspected target of a wave of firebombings in Queens Sunday, the New York Times reports:



No one was hurt in the four attacks, in which homemade firebombs were apparently used. In three of the four attacks, the police said, Molotov cocktails were made with Starbucks bottles.



Read the rest here.

No Republican candidate is running away with the contest in Iowa two days before the caucuses start: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum are all within two points of each other in a new poll from Public Policy Polling (D). Paul leads with 20, Romney is at 19 and Santorum finishes with 18.

Santorum has doubled his support over the last two weeks as the candidates barrel to the finish line. “The momentum in the race is completely on Santorum’s side. He’s moved up 8 points since a PPP poll earlier in the week, while no one else has seen more than a one point gain in their support,” PPP wrote in its analysis. “Among voters who say they decided who to vote for in the last seven days he leads Romney 29-17 with Paul and Gingrich both at 13.”

The previous frontrunner, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has fallen all the way to 14 percent, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry gets 10 percent to round out the candidates in double digits.

More from PPP:



Santorum's net favorability of 60/30 makes him easily the most popular candidate in the field. No one else's favorability exceeds 52%. He may also have more room to grow in the final 48 hours of the campaign than the other front runners: 14% of voters say he's their second choice to 11% for Romney and only 8% for Paul. Santorum's taken the lead with two key groups of Republican voters: with Tea Partiers he's at 23% to 18% for Gingrich, 16% for Paul, 15% for Bachmann, and only 12% for Romney. And with Evangelicals he's at 24% to 16% for Gingrich, and 15% for Paul and Romney.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has completely righted the ship in New Hampshire after a scare during the surge of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Romney is at 41 percent in a new poll of likely Republican primary voters in the Granite State, followed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) at 15, Gingrich at 11 and former Ambassador and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 9 percent.

From Suffolk:



"Paul has reemerged as the number two choice during the Gingrich decline, while Huntsman has not benefited from a recent Super PAC television ad blitz attacking Romney. In fact, with both Romney and Huntsman sharing similar demographics, the ads appear to be benefiting Romney. “There is only one candidate who can win both Iowa and New Hampshire,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center. “That candidate is Mitt Romney. Although the 16 percent undecided is high right now, it is unlikely that Romney will lose New Hampshire, despite what Iowa voters may do.”

ATLANTIC, IOWA -- Rick Santorum really has arrived, it seems. After meeting with voters in a diner here Sunday, Mitt Romney hosted a rare press conference where he was more than happy to take Santorum on in the way he has other surging candidates in the past.

It's a sign that Santorum's surging poll numbers have caught the attention of Romney, who's pushing hard to win here in Iowa, a state he wasn't able to win during his 2008 White House run. Anecdotal evidence suggests some voters are choosing between the two men -- three undecided Iowans I talked to before Romney arrived said Santorum and Romney were on their short lists.

Read More →

Former Ambassador and Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) had previously said he wouldn’t self-finance his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, but he’s had a loose interpretation of what that means. Sunday his campaign put out a fundraising email saying that he’ll match dollar-for-dollar donations to his campaign during the next three days as he eyes the January 10th New Hampshire Primary, forgoing Iowa this week.

From the email:

“Two days ago we launched a fundraising contest to help air this television ad, which highlights my vision for rebuilding our economy and restoring trust in our government.

I am so humbled at the tremendous response we’ve received that today I am adding a special wrinkle: from now until midnight Wednesday, Mary Kaye and I will personally match – dollar for dollar – every new donation our campaign receives.

In just a few minutes, I will be holding a town hall in Deerfield, New Hampshire – our third event of the day, and 143rd event in the state. With only nine days to go until New Hampshire’s primary, it is critical that we have the resources – both on the ground and on TV – to compete with Mitt Romney."

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