Rick Perry’s poll numbers have held up despite Rick Santorum’s rise, but social conservatives who make up Perry’s base may jump to Santorum because of they see him as their best hope to nominate one of their own, say some experts in the state.

“There are a lot of people who like Perry but may ultimately vote differently,” said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party. “I can see how someone will say ‘I really like Rick Perry but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for him so I’m going to back someone who has the chance to win.’ ”

Perry is in fourth place, according to the final Des Moines Register poll. His support actually jumped to 11 percent in the final up from 6 percent in their last poll a month ago, following a deluge of television advertising from the candidate. But Perry was in fifth place in the poll and Santorum clearly has the momentum right now.

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