Romney, Santorum in Dead Heat for Iowa

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By late Tuesday night, the first GOP caucus of the 2012 election season was still too close to call.

Early returns in Iowa showed a big night for former Sen. Rick Santorum, who remains in a virtual dead heat with former Gov. Mitt Romney.

With most of the votes recorded, Romney leads with about 25 percent, and Santorum follows with about 25 percent.

Click here for the Iowa Caucus 2012 results map.

Ron Paul rounded out the top three with about 21 percent of the votes.

Once frontrunners before the caucus, Gov. Rick Perry and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich took third and fourth place in early returns. Rep. Michelle Bachmann and Gov. John Huntsman remained at the bottom of the pack.

Click play for our special evening election update on The 700 Club, including early results analysis from CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody and CBN News Senior Editor John Waage.

Earlier Tuesday, many voters admitted they'd be stretching their decision down to the wire.

"In my mind, it's hard to find someone who stands out in the crowd. They all seem pretty similar," Iowa resident Ron Freidhof said.

"There isn't really a good person or a contender who can beat Obama," voter Roger Bergfield added. "Personally, I think it's pretty silly because, yeah, we're the first state, but by the second or third, nobody remembers it."

In 2008, Romney finished second in Iowa, with 25 percent of the votes.

By 10 p.m. CT, only 125 votes separated Romney and Santorum -- the closest GOP contest in Iowa since 1980, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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