Katie Pavlich
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It is officially 2012 and the GOP presidential primary is in full swing here in Iowa. Entire commercial breaks are filled with attack ads as we are just one day away from the kick off of the primary season. The past few weeks have been filled with ups and downs, particularly for Newt Gingrich, who has faced millions in negative ads in the past two weeks, bringing him down from his frontrunner status. The ongoing battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich rages on as Rick Santorum's visit to all 99 counties in the Hawkeye State is paying off.

Unexpectedly, a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows Mitt Romney leading the pack with 24 percent, Ron Paul coming in second with 22 percent and Rick Santorum coming in third with 15 percent. However, the polls are still anything but a solid indication of how people will be voting as 40 percent of voters are still willing to change their mind before the polls close on Tuesday night.

Few saw this bombshell coming,” GOP strategist David Polyansky said. “In an already unpredictable race this is another stunning turn of political fortune.”

What makes Santorum’s growth spurt particularly striking is his last-second rise: He averaged 10 points after the first two nights of polling, but doubled that during the second two nights. Looking just at the final day of polling, he was just one point down from Romney’s 23 percent on Friday.

Paul has marched higher in every Iowa Poll, but his momentum may have stalled last week. His support eroded from 29 percent on the first day of polling to 16 percent the last.

As for the rest of the field, over the four days of polling, Newt Gingrich is at 12 percent, Rick Perry, 11 percent, and Michele Bachmann, 7 percent. Their support remained relatively steady over the four days.

Townhall will have live updates from Des Moines over the next two days about what is happening here on the ground.

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Katie Pavlich

Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.

“ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING! Intrepid investigative journalist Katie Pavlich rips the lid off Team Obama’s murderous corruption and anti-Second Amendment zealotry" says Michelle Malkin.

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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography