Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann are the clear frontrunners in a new Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers.
Romey had the support of 23 percent and Bachmann had 22 percent, according to the poll.
Bachmann and Romney are in a statistical dead heat, because the poll of 400 likely caucus-goers has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had just 6 percent support, behind businessman Herman Cain who had 10 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul who were tied at 7 percent.
The telephone survey was conducted June 19 to 22.
Following appearances on two Sunday television news programs, Bachmann was headed to her birthplace of Waterloo, IA for a Sunday evening "Welcome Home" rally. On Monday morning Bachmann is set to formally launch her presidential campaign from Waterloo.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders are meeting behind closed doors for a third straight day, trying to reach a budget agreement that would avoid a state government shutdown.
State services will begin shutting down Friday, unless lawmakers reach a deal or if the court intervenes. A Ramsey County judge could rule in the next few days whether some essential services should continue during a shutdown. Dayton and GOP leaders have said they won't comment publicly about specifics while the negotiations continue. On his way to the latest meeting, Dayton stayed true to that pledge.
"I'm always optimistic, hopeful, Dayton said. "We'll see, but yes. I hope we can make the kind of progress we've made the past two days."
House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, made no comments at all. They avoided reporters by entering the meeting through a backdoor.
Negotiations between Gov. Dayton and GOP leaders abruptly ended this afternoon, about an hour and 15 minutes after the Sunday session began.
Both sides characterized the Friday and Saturday discussions as productive, but they also agreed to not comment publicly about any of the specifics they were talking about behind closed doors. That stance continued as the the talks ended for the day without explanation. Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch avoided reporters by exiting the meeting through a back door.
Spokespersons for the House, Senate and governor's office were left trying to explain the situation with little information.
"Legislative leaders are going to be here today working, working and talking with respective staff and committee chairs, but I can't speak to any upcoming scheduled meetings with the governor," said Michael Brodkorb, spokesman for the Senate GOP.
Asked if the negotiations broke up unexpectedly, Brodkorb said he hadn't been told that.
The governor's staff was also in the dark.
"I can't tell you anything right now, but I'll see what I can find out and let you know," said Dayton press secretary Katharine Tinucci.(1 Comments)
On the eve of her formal campaign announcement, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann rallied supporters in her birthplace of Waterloo, IA. Speaking before several hundred people Bachmann played up her Iowa roots.
"I want you to know, everything I needed to know, I learned in Iowa," Bachmann said as the crowd cheered."
Bachmann talked about taking the voice of Waterloo and the heartland of America to the White House and asked for help along with way in the form of donations, volunteer work and votes at the Ames straw poll in August.
Claude and Anna Maria Jones drove to Waterloo from Des Moines to hear Bachmann.
Claude, who's a pastor, said he's seen Bachmann and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty speak repeatedly and that Bachmann seems to connect better with crowds. He thinks Bachmann's campaign has a lot of potential.
"I think she is a viable candidate, and I think as people hear her more and get to know her more and get beyond some of their preconceived ideas of a congresswoman running; I think she'll gathering more people around her," he said.
Anna Maria Jones, who works as a teacher, said she thinks Bachmann actually lives by the principles she talks about.
"She's real and that's what I'm looking for," she said. "I am always looking for role models for my kids, and Michele is the role model."
Carole Deeds was also at the Bachmann rally. Deeds was wearing a hat decorated with several tea bags, indicating her support for the tea party. She drove to Waterloo from nearby Cedar Falls. Deeds said she likes Bachmann's concentration on the constitution. Deeds said Bachmann is appealing because she comes across like a regular person.
"She seems to reach out as an average person, as one of us," she said. " And she's a mother of five children and they had all of these foster children, so they've really given a lot of their lives personally to helping children and that's the future."
A new Des Moines Register poll shows Bachmann running neck and neck with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among likely Iowa caucus-goers. Twenty-three percent support Romney and 22 percent support Bachmann, according to the poll. Tim Pawlenty had the support of just 6 percent of those polled, despite numerous appearances in Iowa.
Following her campaign kick-off in Waterloo Monday morning, Bachmann heads for campaign stops in New Hampshire and South Carolina. A small contingent of reporters is traveling with Bachmann on a private jet the campaign arranged.