Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent, in Iowa

As the candidates keep up their hectic schedules in the final hours of the Iowa Caucuses, a picture of some sort is becoming clear.

First, Mitt Romney appears to be doing quite well. Becky Beach, fundraiser and driving force in the Iowa Republican Party, has opted for Romney.

She told us that it was a pragmatic decision, based on the belief that he could beat Barack Obama in the presidential election.

I got the impression that it was a decision she came to with some reluctance. After all, she is a tough conservative and really would have liked to vote for a straight-down-the-line Christian conservative.

But there wasn’t one available and so she took the pragmatic decision to go for Romney.

I wonder how many will go with her on that tonight as the Republican faithful sit down to ponder their decisions in caucuses right across the state. Romney may be the least loved candidate ever to lead a Republican race.

But then again, many of the other candidates have failed to generate the love. Newt Gingrich has slid back in the polls and commentators say his ‘nasty’ side is back in evidence.

Rick Perry has resorted to calling on God to bring the campaign home, while Michelle Bachman was pictured this morning at a prayer meeting with her husband imploring the almighty for divine intervention.

In this religious state, God has not shown any preference yet, but the polls show Bachman and Perry are struggling.

The more secular Ron Paul is fired up and in great form, but how many will actually vote for him?

Rick Santorum, the man with seven home-schooled children, is enjoying a late surge. But many are concerned that he has only been asked about his social views. His economic policy is a mystery to most.

There’s just a few hours to go before the exact picture becomes clear. For a dull election, this is quite interesting!

Richard Downes