(REUTERS) — Despite his strong showing in early state contests in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney’s support nationwide has dipped slightly during the past month, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.

Romney was backed by 29 percent of Republican voters in the telephone poll conducted February 2-6, down from 30 percent in a survey in early January.

The former Massachusetts governor’s three rivals in the race to oppose Democratic President Barack Obama in November were in a virtual tie for second, the poll showed. The gaps between the three were within the poll’s margin of error.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s support grew by 5 percentage points to 21 percent, moving him into second place and ahead of former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich, whose support slipped to 19 percent from 20 percent.

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