Michele Bachmann takes slim lead in Iowa

With a new poll in Iowa showing the tight race between Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney, Jan Crawford and John Dickerson report on where the candidates stand in the GOP race.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has been gunning for the support of Iowa voters, the first in the nation to vote for their party's presidential nominees, and it looks like her efforts may be paying off.

The conservative congresswoman finished first among the GOP presidential candidates in a poll released today by The Iowa Republican, a blog which bill itself as News for Republicans, by Republicans. Bachmann received support from 25 percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney received 21 percent, putting Bachmann's lead within the poll's 4.4 percent margin of error.

Bachmann officially launched her presidential campaign from her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, and her first campaign ad touts her Iowa roots. She was also the first candidate to sign a "values" pledge created by Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats, an influential Iowa Christian.

While her lead over Romney is slim, the poll shows that Bachmann's favorability rating among Iowa Republicans is unmatched. Seventy-six percent of voters said they had a favorable view of her, compared with 66 percent who said they have a favorable view of Romney. Just 11 percent of voters said they have an unfavorable view of Bachmann, while 25 percent have an unfavorable view of Romney.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty edged up in the poll, earning 9 percent. He tied for third place with businessman Herman Cain, who also won the support of 9 percent.

Pawlenty has largely avoided confrontation with Bachmann, his fellow Minnesota Republican, but on Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Pawlenty said "her record of accomplishment in Congress is non-existent."

"It's non-existent. And so we're not looking for folks who, you know, just have speech capabilities," he said. "We're looking for people who can lead a large enterprise in a public setting and drive it to a conclusion. I've done that; she hasn't."

Bachmann responded with a statement that did not directly address Pawlenty's remarks. "People can count on me as a fighter," she said. "I am proud of my record of fighting with resolve, and without apology, for our free markets, for sane fiscal policies, and in opposition to the advancement of the big government left."

If Bachmann can keep up her lead and win the Iowa Ames Straw Poll on Aug. 13, she could earn even higher visibility in the state and the support of more donors and influential Iowans.

The Iowa Republican poll of 500 likely caucus-goers was conducted between June 26 and June 30 by Voter/Consumer Research, a survey firm founded by Republican pollster Jan van Lohuizen.