Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Andrew Rafferty

Marco Rubio is downplaying expectations ahead of Monday’s Iowa caucuses, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd he is “an underdog” in the Hawkeye State.

“We just want to get as many votes as possible,” Rubio said Sunday on “Meet The Press.”

"We always knew we were an underdog in Iowa. Other people have a lot more people on the ground here, they spent a lot more money. But we’re going to have a good night,” he added.

The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released Saturday showed Rubio in third place in Iowa, an improvement from his previous standing but still well behind Ted Cruz and frontrunner Donald Trump.

The Florida senator did not commit the type of resources to the state that some of his rivals did. The heavy influence of evangelical conservatives in the GOP caucuses along with Rubio’s work on bipartisan immigration legislation made Iowa tough terrain for Rubio earlier in the campaign.

But Ben Carson’s decline, Cruz’s seeming loss of momentum, and the failure of former caucus winners Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum to gain traction presents an opportunity for Rubio in the opening contest of the 2016 election.

“The voters have a lot of choices. I think once the race narrows I feel very good about our prospects,” Rubio said.