Iowa: Paul, Santorum, Romney lead early vote

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Early numbers from the Iowa caucuses show a tight three-way race between former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The three rivals are separated by only a few dozen votes.

That matches the findings of an entrance survey of early arrivers that suggested that Romney, Paul and Santorum were in the top tier.

About a third of voters in the survey said they most wanted a candidate who could defeat President Barack Obama. Romney was the top choice of those participants. Among those favoring a true conservative, most preferred Paul. He also scored well with younger and first-time caucus-goers.

The survey was conducted by Edison Media Research for the AP and TV networks.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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