Posted at 11:16 AM ET, 12/31/2011

Three days out from Iowa caucuses: The Des Moines Register poll cometh

What’s in a poll?

(Alex Hicks Jr. - AP)
Pretty much everything, if it’s the Des Moines Register poll and you’re a GOP presidential hopeful.

The influential Iowa survey — the last one before Tuesday’s caucuses — will be released at 8 p.m. Eastern time Saturday on the Des Moines Register’s Web site. (Make sure to click here tonight for the full results and analysis from The Fix. But we know you were already planning to do that.)

While the GOP contenders have a busy day on the trail today — with the exception of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who’s taking some time out to ring in the new year in Texas — all of the campaigns (as well as reporters) are holding their collective breath in anticipation of what the Iowa survey says about the state of the race and the likely composition of Tuesday’s electorate.

Will the caucus skew young? (If so, advantage Paul.) Will there be many first-time caucus-goers? (If so, then any number of candidates might benefit.) Are social conservatives energized, and are they coalescing around one candidate? (If so, advantage — perhaps — to former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.)

In the hours before (and after) the poll, we’ll be here providing live updates from the trail all day. So stay tuned!

Today on the trail (Courtesy of the PBS NewsHour Political Calendar and campaign advisories; all times Eastern):

8:55 a.m.: Mitt Romney hosts a breakfast event in Hampton, New Hampshire.

9 a.m.: Jon Huntsman speaks at a meet-and-greet at the Owl’s Nest Golf Club in Campton, New Hampshire.

10 a.m.: Newt Gingrich holds a campaign event at Tish’s Restaurant in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

11 a.m.: Huntsman speaks at a house party hosted by former state Sen. Jim Ruben in Etna, New Hampshire.

11:30 a.m.: Rick Perry holds a meet-and-greet at Bloomers at Central Coffee Shop in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

1 p.m.: Newt Gingrich visits Washington General Store in Washington, New Hampshire.

1:45 p.m.: Rick Perry holds a meet-and-greet at the Dutch Oven Bakery in Boone, Iowa.

2 p.m.: Rick Santorum holds a meet-and-greet at the Indianola Public Library in Indianola, Iowa.

2:30 p.m.: Newt Gingrich hosts a town hall at Atlantic Bottling in Atlantic, Iowa.

3 p.m.: Rick Santorum visits the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum in Knoxville, Iowa.

3:30 p.m.: Rick Perry holds a campaign event in Des Moines.

4 p.m.: Rick Santorum hosts a meet-and-greet at the Pella Public Library in Pella, Iowa.

4 p.m.: Jon Huntsman speaks at a house party in Hudson, New Hampshire.

4:30 p.m.: Mitt Romney meets with voters at the Family Table Restaurant in Le Mars, Iowa.

5 p.m.: Rick Santorum hosts a meet-and-greet at the Smokey Row Coffeehouse in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

6 p.m.: Rick Santorum holds a rally at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, Iowa.

6 p.m.: Jon Huntsman speaks at a house party in Concord, New Hampshire.

6:35 p.m.: Mitt Romney holds a town hall at the Stoney Creek Inn in Sioux City, Iowa.

By  |  11:16 AM ET, 12/31/2011

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