Poll shows Obama trailing three GOP challengers in Iowa

A new poll shows President Barack Obama trailing three of the four GOP presidential candidates in the key swing state of Iowa.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads Obama by 46 percent support to 44 percent among likely Hawkeye state voters in the latest Iowa poll. The survey shows Rick Santorum, winner of the state's 2012 caucuses, besting Obama 48 percent to 44 percent.  Texas Rep. Ron Paul has the biggest edge over the president leading him 49 percent to 42 percent. 

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Only former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) loses to Obama in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup. Obama receives 51 percent support to Gingrich's 37 percent.

The poll's results are a troubling sign for Obama in a state that launched him to the presidency. Obama won the 2008 Iowa Democratic caucuses and carried the state in the general election, defeating GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) by 10 points, 55 percent to 44 percent. 

Obama's national poll numbers have risen steadily as the economy shows signs of improvement, but in key swing states he is still vulnerable.

The poll shows 48 percent of Iowans disapprove of Obama's performance with 46 percent approving. The figure is only one percentage point about his all-time low in job approval, a 45 percent rating in a September 2010 Iowa poll.

The Iowa poll was conducted by the Des Moines Register from Feb. 12-15 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.