Moline, Illinois (CNN) - As he prepared to kick off a three-day bus tour through Iowa, Mitt Romney sought to lower expectations in the state where he has played a game of wait-and-see for several months.
"I want to do well in all the states and get a good start, but I really can't set expectations," Romney said at a New Hampshire stop Tuesday morning. "A couple of weeks ago I was a distant third in Iowa and you just don't know what's going to happen in this process."
An American Research Group poll conducted Dec. 19 – 22 showed Romney in second place among likely Republican caucus-goers, trailing leader Texas Rep. Ron Paul by one point.
Romney has made only scattered visits to Iowa since entering the race this summer, after he invested heavily in the state during the 2008 cycle but placed a disappointing second.
"I don't think there's any must-win state for anybody," Romney said in New Hampshire.
His campaign has only one Iowa state office, in Des Moines.
However, a SuperPAC supportive of Romney's candidacy has aired over a million dollars in television advertisements in Iowa.