Iowa Poll: Romney 23%, Bachmann 22%

From the Des Moines Register:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann sit atop the standings in the year’s first Des Moines Register Iowa Poll on the Republican presidential field.

Romney, the national front-runner and a familiar face in Iowa after his 2008 presidential run, attracts support from 23 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers. Bachmann, who will officially kick off her campaign in Iowa on Monday, nearly matches him, with 22 percent…

I’d have to rate Romney’s support as soft – the sort of support you get for being around and not doing anything to make yourself actually unelectable. It is the sort of support which can easily be lost when someone better comes along – and right now, it appears that Iowa Republicans are starting to think that Bachmann is better.

To be sure, poll strength is not decisive in Iowa – that is all about the ground game at Caucus time, and if Romney’s caucus effort out here in Nevada in 2008 is any indicator, he’ll have a first class campaign for Iowa (Romney’s people simply steam rollered our caucuses…there was never a chance he wouldn’t win them). It now remains to be seen whether Bachmann, or anyone else, can out hustle Romney.