Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) isn't setting a high bar for himself to clear in this evening's Ames straw poll results.

He said Saturday morning that a fourth or fifth-place finish today in Iowa would be enough to hearten his campaign.

"If we can crack the top five, maybe even fourth, that would be a good finish for us," Santorum said on MSNBC.

The former Pennsylvania senator said that a first place finish would obviously be preferable, but a more realistic finish in fourth or fifth would be satisfying.

The top tier of candidates competing in Ames today consists of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). The three of them are expected to finish in the top three, in some varying order.

Santorum's been running for president virtually longer than any of the other candidates in the race at this point, having made more trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina than most of the other contenders. Still, his campaign is a longshot one; he doesn't clear the single digits in polling.