Romney, Bachmann in dead heat in latest Des Moines Register poll (Updated)

Mitt Romney, who has spent half a decade running for president, is now in a statistical tie with Michele Bachmann in Iowa, according to the latest Des Moines Register poll.

The poll conducted for the Des Moines Register shows Mr. Romney with support from 23 percent in Iowa. Mrs. Bachmann, who plans to open her campaign in Iowa on Monday, has support from 22 percent.

Mr. Romney was the No. 2 finisher in the caucuses in his bid for the 2008 GOP nomination. Mrs. Bachmann is a three-term congresswoman and newer face in the 2012 White House mix.

The results are based on telephone interviews with 400 likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers from June 19 to 22. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

Bachmann has basically set up shop in Iowa since she began a push for the presidency. She has put family ties in the state front and center in her campaign to introduce herself to Iowa voters.

Her performance in the first full Republican presidential debate bolstered her chances. It showed a relatively polished Bachmann — as opposed to the shoot-from-the-hip-firing-crazy close observers are used to seeing — hold her own against established top tier candidates. Bachmann locked up the services of longtime GOP strategist Ed Rollins to run her campaign, adding heft to a campaign plenty of folks initially thought wasn’t going anywhere.

My panel with Kombiz, Dave Weigel, Arjun Jaikumar and Jake McIntyre at Netroots Nation found consensus around Romney as the likely nominee with the strongest challenger being Bachmann. She’s a strong fundraiser and speaks to the base much easier and with less distrust than Romney. Bachmann needs to contain the crazy. Ed Rollins is a quality strategist. Her campaign events and debate appearances should be polished. The one-on-ones with reporters could prove disastrous for her, however.

Keep in mind, an Iowa victory did not propel Mike Huckabee to the nomination in 2008, but this will be an interesting race nonetheless.

Updated No sooner than I published this post, Michele Bachmann strikes again.

Rep. Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign on Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, and in one interview surrounding the official event she promised to mimic the spirit of Waterloo’s own John Wayne.

The only problem, as one eagle-eyed reader notes: Waterloo’s John Wayne was not the beloved movie star, but rather John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer.

Mrs. Bachmann grew up in Waterloo, and used the town as the backdrop for her campaign announcement, where she told Fox News: “Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.”

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