Every four years, the Des Moines Register provides a number of polls that are very accurate in predicting how the candidates will fare in the Iowa caucuses. The first of these surveys was just released today. The newspaper found that Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann are in a virtual tie for first place currently among likely caucus attendees in the state.

The results for each of the candidates are:

Mitt Romney 23%

Michele Bachmann 22%

Herman Cain 10%

Newt Gingrich 7%

Ron Paul 7%

Tim Pawlenty 6%

Rick Santorum 4%

Jon Huntsman 2%

Obviously, both Romney and Bachmann should be heartened by these results…Mitt, because he hasn’t emphasized Iowa, and Michele, because she hasn’t had much money to spend building a grass-roots campaign. Herman Cain should also be excited to be in third place this early in the race. I assume that he will be camped out in the state for the next 6 months, so I’d expect his numbers to rise. The other candidate who should be jumping for joy is Newt. To be in fourth place after the debacle his campaign has gone through this month should give him renewed hope. He’s probably buying Callista a few baubles right about now.

On the other hand, some of the GOP candidates might be re-thinking how they plan to spend the rest of the year. Tim Pawlenty should have a lot of name recognition since he was the Governor of a neighboring state. He has spent 25 days campaigning there. He has hired a number of big-name advisors. Yet, now he only has 6% support from likely caucus attendees. My guess is that they thought the same as most of the rest of us; if he didn’t have the fortitude to say something bad when standing next to Mitt, what would he do when standing next to the President of the United States? Santorum seemed to think that we were all living in a time warp where he was still the white knight of the social conservatives. It turns out that that was just in Ricky’s mind.

Here is a video of an analysis by the political reporter from the Register: