Yet don't count Rick Perry out just yet.
Perry is drawing huge numbers at his appearances around Iowa:
Rick Perry’s events have taken a turn for the crowded. He’ll arrive, typically, to find that a coffee shop built to accommodate 75 people is crammed with up to twice that many, spilling out the door and jammed into every available corner.And while Santorum's audiences seem to be comprised of as many reporters as supporters, those at Perry's appearances want to meet the candidate. They want to hear what he has to say. There are a large number of undecideds in the audiences that Perry draws but he is winning some of them:
Conversations with voters suggest Perry’s rising numbers are a result of his 14-day bus tour across the state, which gives him a chance to display his famed retail-politics skills. Some showed up to his town hall in Marshalltown with a number of candidates in mind -- but left the event saying they were sold on him.
Molly Ball at The Atlantic suggests that Perry could be the dark horse in Iowa:
As the days to the caucuses wane, Perry has things other candidates would kill for: Crowds who want to meet him, ads all over the airwaves, a decent ground organization, an anti-Washington message people are hungry for, and terrific hair. The question is whether it's too little, too late, to get through the crowded pack ahead of him.
The Des Moines Register poll, as we all know by now, has Romney once again in the lead with 24%, followed by Ron Paul at 22% and Santorum in third with 15%. Perry holds at 11%, not that far back from Santorum.
The poll covers four days:
Santorum's surge is clear; so is Ron Paul's decline.
The poll closed on Friday, the same day Perry's Strike Force began arriving in Iowa. He's got at least 400 volunteers working the state right now going door to door, talking to caucus goers, and manning phones.
The results of this Strike Force won't be known until Tuesday. Meanwhile, Perry continues to work the state with at least six more appearances before caucus day. Nate Silver points out:
But for those looking for a glimmer of hope in Mr. Perry’s numbers, I was able to identify one. Mr. Perry was fairly often named as a second-place choice in a Des Moines Register poll released on Saturday. His campaign may have some hope of converting those second-place votes into first-place votes because it has a large number of precinct leaders, who under Iowa caucus rules are allowed to make a speech in favor of their candidate before the voting takes place.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says "Governor Perry is going to do better than some people think."
Tuesday will tell.
More on the poll at Memeorandum.