Newt Gingrich likened the Iowa caucuses to the Super Bowl and indicated possible game plan changes in the final hours of the Republican contest for president before the caucuses Tuesday.
“This is the opening three minutes of the Super Bowl,” the former House speaker told reporters in Atlantic, Iowa, on Saturday. “We’re learning a lot about what our opponents will do. They’re nastier and more dishonest than I expected. So we’ll have to make some adjustments.”
Gingrich made the comments just hours before the Des Moines Register released the results of its final Iowa poll before the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Those results, released Saturday night, showed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with a narrow lead over his rivals and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum riding a late surge put him in third.
Romney scored 24 percent among likely Republican caucus-goers; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 22 percent; Santorum, 15 percent; Gingrich at 12; Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 11 percent; and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 7 percent.
Despite Gingrich’s fourth-place showing, his spokesman, R.C. Hammond, wasn’t daunted, declaring: “If this is the Super Bowl, then we just saw the pre-game show. But everyone knows the real action happens after kickoff.”
The Dec. 27-30 survey of 602 likely Republican caucus participants has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The poll also shows the fluidity that remains ahead of the Jan. 3 caucuses, with 41 percent of survey participants saying they could still change their minds.
If the final two days of polling are considered separately, the newspaper reported that Santorum rises to second place, with 21 percent, pushing Paul to third, at 18 percent. Romney remained steady at 24 percent. The margin of error for those two days alone jumps to 5.6 percentage points.
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