Rick Santorum looks to build on his momentum in Iowa before caucus

Rick Santorum is looking to capitalize on a new poll showing him with growing support in Iowa by adding campaign stops in the final days before Tuesday's caucuses.

On Thursday and Friday, Santorum will look to appeal to Iowa’s conservative Christian voters through a series of “Faith, Family and Freedom” town-hall meetings in Coralville, Muscatine and Marshalltown.

The former Pennsylvania senator has also made time for some lighter events — at a candy shop, a campaign rally and a few college football-watching parties — over the next two days.

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Santorum has spent more time in Iowa than any of the other GOP candidates and has visited all 99 of the state’s counties.

On Wednesday, Santorum leaped ahead of Newt Gingrich into third place in Iowa, taking 16 percent of registered Republican voters in a CNN/Time magazine poll. Gingrich came in fourth with 14 percent, followed by Rick Perry with 11 percent and Michele Bachmann at 9 percent.

Poll watchers in the state have been keeping a close eye on Santorum, Perry and Bachmann because evangelical voters in the state have yet to coalesce around a candidate, and many believe the bloc could turn out to provide a surprise showing for one of them.

Those voters turned out in the 2008 race for the White House and propelled former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to victory.

Santorum was already beginning to generate buzz before the CNN/Time poll was released. He’s been the only second-tier candidate not to surge thus far in the 2012 primary season, but according to a Public Policy Poll released on Wednesday, he has the best favorability numbers in the field.

Fifty-six percent of Iowans say they have a favorable view of Santorum, compared to only 29 percent surveyed who have an unfavorable view. He’s also the most frequent second choice of voters in the Hawkeye State, at 14 percent.


Santorum said Tuesday he would drop out of the race if he came in last in the caucus, but pointed out Wednesday that now his campaign is "moving in the other direction."

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