Washington, Jan 31: Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have narrow leads over their respective opponents in Iowa, the crucial state which formally kicks off the American presidential elections with the beginning of the primaries tomorrow.
However, the final polls before the crucial Iowa caucus, released by the prestigious Des Moines Register newspaper in association with Bloomberg reveal a different story for the two front runners Trump and Clinton.
While Trump has overtaken Senator Ted Cruz from Texas in this latest Iowa poll, Clinton has a slim edge over Senator Bernie Sanders.
"Donald Trump has muscled ahead in Iowa, regaining his lead on the brink of the first votes being cast in the 2016 presidential race," the Des Moines Register said.
Trump has support of 28 per cent, while Cruz follows him with 23 per cent. In a previous poll released on January 13, Trump (22 per cent) had trailed Cruz (25 per cent).
"Trump is leading with both the inner core of the caucus universe and the fringe - that's what any candidate would want," said veteran Iowa pollster J Ann Selzer, who conducted the survey.
On the other hand, the poll revealed that Clinton's lead over Sanders is very slim. The former secretary of state is the favourite of 45 per cent of prospective Democratic caucus-goers, while 42 per cent support Sanders. As a result, many see this as a dead heat in the Democratic Party.
"This race is as tight as can be. If Bernie Sanders had momentum headed into the final month, the race now is static and essentially tied," said national political strategist David Axelrod.
The poll conducted by Selzer has long been influential and accurate, Politico reported. Selzer's surveys predicted victories by Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee in 2008, and foresaw Rick Santorum's late surge in 2012, it said.
Meanwhile, the influential New York Times daily has endorsed Clinton and John Kasich as the respective Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.
The decision of the NYT editorial board on Clinton was not surprising, but the top US daily surprised many by rejecting the credentials of top the three Republican aspirants including its city resident Trump who has been leading all major polls ever since he declared his candidacy last summer.
"Hillary Clinton is the right choice for the Democrats to present a vision for America that is radically different from the one that leading Republican candidates offer a vision in which middle-class Americans have a real shot at prosperity, women's rights are enhanced, undocumented immigrants are given a chance at legitimacy, international alliances are nurtured and the country is kept safe," the daily said.