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Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney lead in first Iowa GOP poll

Michele Bachmann

She hasn't even officially announced her presidential campaign yet, but already Rep. Michele Bachmann is virtually tied with Mitt Romney in the 2012 Iowa caucus polling season.

In the first summer poll, published just minutes ago, the Minnesota congresswoman who was born in Iowa has 22% to Romney's 23% lead in the still developing field of Republican presidential prospects, according to the closely-watched Des Moines Register Iowa Poll.

Business executive and tea party favorite Herman Cain finished well behind with 10% in the poll. No other Republican attracted double-digit support.

The former governor from next door Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, lags at 6%.

Bachmann will appear on two of the Sunday morning talk shows. And then formally launch her run for the Republican nomination Monday in Iowa. After, she'll do the same in New Hampshire and South Carolina, three early states that have historically played major roles in deciding the nominees of both parties.

On Tuesday, no doubt by coincidence, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be in Iowa to campaign for -- wait for it -- the new documentary movie about her life, "The Undefeated." The premiere that day is already sold out. Palin has not indicated her decision about a 2012 race, but too much delay this summer could make her decision irrelevant. The poll reported no numbers for Palin.

Republican ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (4%) will also be wandering around Iowa this coming week, along with Rep. Ron Paul (7%) and Newt Gingrich (7%). Even President Obama, who is not seeking the Republican nomination, will visit Iowa on Tuesday to talk more about creating jobs.

Ex-Gov. Jon Huntsman (2%) has indicated he will not be making a major effort in the Hawkeye state. Presumed GOP front-runner Romney, who finished second there to Mike Huckabee in the 2008 caucuses, can't appear to be writing off Iowa. But he'll focus on his homefield advantage in New Hampshire.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Andy King / Associated Press (Bachmann).

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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