Texas Congressman Ron Paul continues to hold a modest lead in Iowa as the days count down to the first presidential contest of the 2012 presidential cycle.
Public Policy Polling has Paul at the front of the pack of contenders in the Iowa Republican caucuses at 24 percent. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is second at 20 percent, with recent national frontrunner Newt Gingrich in a distant third at 13 percent.
Michele Bachmann is at 11 percent, and Rick Perry and Rick Santorum are both at 10 percent.
Paul’s strength in Iowa, according to PPP, is with independent and Democratic voters intending to cross the lines to vote in the GOP caucuses. Paul has a 39 percent-to-12 percent lead over Romney among the 24 percent of voters saying they will take part in the caucuses and also say that they are independents or Democrats. The 76-year-old also has a strong following among younger voters, with a 35 percent-to-11 percent lead over Romney among voters under 45.
Paul also leads Romney 38 percent to 13 percent among the 45 percent of the likely Republican electorate that does not regularly watch Fox News. Romney, surprisingly, leads among the Fox News-viewing cohort with 27 percent, to 16 percent for Gingrich, 15 percent for Bachmann and 12 percent for Paul.