40 per cent of Republicans in Iowa back Bachmann

Nearly half of all Republicans in Iowa back Michele Bachmann for president, according to a recent po

40 per cent of Republicans in Iowa would pick Michele Bachmann as either their first or second choice for president, according to a recent poll in the Des Moines Register.

Mitt Romney came top in the first choice category with a 23 per cent share of the vote, beating Bachmann score of 22 by one point, but Bachmann scored far higher in the second choice category, beating Romney by 18 to ten. For a full break down of the results see below.

Bachmann poll surprise 

The poll indicates that Bachmann has a surprising breadth of support among Republican voters as a whole, and not just among the "Tea Party", Christian right of the party. Matt Taibbi is right: Bachmann is a contender.

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Police shoot man in parliament

A man carrying what appeared to be a knife was shot by armed police after entering the parliamentary estate. 

From the window of the parliamentary Press Gallery, I have just seen police shoot a man who charged at officers while carrying what appeared to be a knife. A large crowd was seen fleeing from the man before he entered the parliamentary estate.

After several officers evaded him he was swiftly shot by armed police.

Ministers have been evacuated and journalists ordered to remain at their desks. 

More follows. Read Julia Rampen's news story here.

Armed police at the cordon outside Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Getty

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.