Iowa Caucuses: Republican Race Tightens Up

Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum lead the polls for Tuesday's vote.
4:05 | 01/01/12

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Transcript for Iowa Caucuses: Republican Race Tightens Up
Your voice your vote in just two days until the Iowa Caucuses now. Casting the first votes of this presidential election year and a new poll tonight of likely Republican voters showing a tightening race Mitt Romney and Ron Paul on top. Rick Santorum in third place and surging. But Newt Gingrich and the other candidates trailing. ABC's Jonathan Karl spent the weekend face to face with the candidates and here's what they're saying on the eve of Iowa here's job now from good morning. Here's the candidate Iowa is putting on. Former senator Rick Santorum campaign and today -- Iowa City this is your chance heartland. This is your chance heartland of America to speak out. Until recently Santorum was -- by his opponents and virtually invisible loopholes now nobody is rising faster. Within striking distance of winning the Iowa Caucuses he's done -- the old fashioned way spending more time traveling around the state. Talking to voters than anybody else. We met up with him -- Marshall -- Iowa I'm very confident we're gonna we're gonna do well -- market. Santorum has been helped by the collapse of Newt Gingrich who spent the last week complaining about negative ads as he has been hit hard here and has more -- games. And the airlines. -- Gingrich lashed out at Mitt Romney accusing him of trying to buying the election. Good -- and went to be good. -- you can imagine. Mine has been in a million dollars in negative ads you tell me Romney riding high in the polls stayed above the fray today. As he campaigned in Atlantic Iowa. I want to restore the principles that made American great and I won't do it Michelle Bachmann who was born in Iowa and won the big straw poll here in August. Iowa in the White House. Is now languishing at the back of the pack. She told us she expects some to going to -- on Tuesday. Believing get a miracle because we know I know the one who gives -- -- If you don't come in first second or third can continue. I am going to be the next president. Newt Gingrich -- tried to make a virtue of the fact that he hasn't run any negative ads here in Iowa. What he has made it clear that all bets are off after the Iowa Caucuses. You can expect to see a feisty or Gingrich not afraid to savage his opponents especially Mitt Romney David. -- call tonight and I would -- thanks we'll see what Iowa tomorrow in the meantime I want to bring an ABC news political analyst Matthew down with us here in New York tonight -- always great to have you. And you were telling me earlier what we -- should be watching for in Iowa which is not necessarily the -- to be chosen for the nomination but for the field to be winnowed down. Yeah we're about to get to the voting months we've been waiting for this in the voting in Iowa usually doesn't pick the nominee -- -- that -- nominee is and -- if you go back and look at history as recently as 2008. Mike Huckabee wins a surprising victory and Iowa and is not the Republican nominee John McCain becomes the Republican nominee that has happened over and over. I -- performs a very good function. Which is it winnow the field down from multiple candidates to a smaller number can't. So when you look at this image tonight at the debate we pulled it up the last ABC news debate you predict that the next ABC news debate less than a week from now we might not see all the same people standing it'll be -- less crowded stage -- when we -- in New Hampshire it'll be a much less crowded stage -- -- to those -- probably won't be there now the White House surely -- watching Iowa whether they say they are or not and what is their strategy at this point their possible path to victory given. The field as it -- If they're incredibly vulnerable environment the president's job approval isn't very high that the -- direction the country is high in consumer confidence is slow and say they know. That this race shouldn't be about them they wanted to be about whoever the Republican nominee is if it's Mitt Romney they want him to be a murder emerge beaten up. So far he hasn't but as soon as this thing is over their minister their campaign -- Harris. All right Matthew -- tonight -- thank you and -- will be here Tuesday night with -- George following the caucus results. And it's hard to believe but we're now just six days away from the next ABC news debate just before the New Hampshire primary Diane Sawyer George Stephanopoulos moderating we'll all be there -- New Hampshire. Next Saturday night.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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