Cain, Romney Finish at Top of Des Moines Register Poll

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has taken the lead in the race to win the Iowa Caucuses, according to a Des Moines Register poll published Saturday.

Cain finished with 23 percent, narrowly beating former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney who finished with 22 percent. The two are essentially tied however, as Cain's one point lead falls within the poll's +/-4.9 percentage point margin of error.

Cain's finish shows a significant gain of support in Iowa, as he scored just 10 percent in the Register's first poll held in June. Romney's support relatively stayed the same.

The retired pizza executive's numbers strengthened in Iowa despite him spending little time campaigning The Hawkeye State, with only one appearance there since Aug. 13 -- at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's presidential forum on Oct. 22.

In a post on Facebook, Cain said, "I am glad to hear that the people of Iowa want a proven problem solver offering real solutions ... Thank you."

Texas Rep. Ron Paul finished third in the poll on 12 percent, while no other contender polled more than 10 percent.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who finished a close second in the Register's first poll with 22 percent, dropped to 8 percent to finish fourth in Saturday's poll. Despite the sharp fall in support, Bachmann's Iowa campaign manager Eric Woolson said he was confident the candidate would still win the primary in January.

"Poll numbers have bounced up and down on weekly, sometimes daily basis," Woolson said in a statement. "We'll see much more of that before caucus night but one thing I'm convinced of is that Michele Bachmann will come out on top on Jan. 3."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tied for fifth each with 7 percent. Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum finished with 5 percent, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman gained 1 percent.

The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 3.

The poll is based on telephone interviews with 400 likely Republican caucus-goers.

Newscore contributed to this report.