(CNSNews.com) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee held onto a 9-point lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the race for the Iowa presidential caucuses, according to a poll released Saturday by the Davenport, Iowa, Quad City Times.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson were tied for a distant third place. Both of those candidates were 22 points behind Huckabee.
The poll indicated that Huckabee's lead over Romney has eroded slightly since a month ago, when it stood at 14 points.
The Iowa caucuses will take place seventeen days from now on the evening of Thursday, January 3.
The Quad City Times poll was conducted between December 10 and 13. It included telephone interviews with 500 randomly-selected likely Republican caucus voters from precincts all across Iowa. (See complete poll results)
The poll carries a margin of error of plus or minue 4.5 points.
Thirty-one percent of likely Republican caucus voters in the poll said that if the caucuses were held today they would vote for Huckabee. Twenty-two percent said they would vote for Romney, 9% said they would vote for Giuliani and 9% for Thompson. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas were tied for fifth place with 7%.
In November, The Quad City Times poll showed Huckabee leading Romney, 33% to 19%.
The new poll released Saturday showed fewer Republican voters than Democratic voters solidly committed to their current caucus favorite. Seventy-seven percent of likely Democratic caucus voters said they were "not very likely" or "not at all" likely to change their minds before caucus day. Only 66% of likely Republican caucus voters said that was the case.
Huckabee voters were slightly more likely to be solidly committed than Romney voters. Sixty-eight percent of Huckabee voters said they were "not very likely" (40%) or "not at all likely" (28%) to change their minds before caucus day. Sixty-five percent of Romney voters said they were "not very likely" (38%) or "not at all likely" (27%) to change their minds before caucus day.
The war on terror (32%), immigration reform (21%), moral issues (20%), and lowering taxes (13%) were the top four issues listed by Republican voters when they were asked what is the single most important issue they would like to see the candidates talk about more.
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