A recent poll shows John Edwards third or maybe fourth among Democratic contenders.
He told CNN that it's not the national numbers that count, but the results of the early state primaries and caucuses.
The poll by CNN and Opinion Research shows Edwards at 15 percent, behind Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, or at 12 percent if former vice president Al Gore is added to the mix.
But Edwards told CNN's John Roberts that he's doing well in Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which will hold their nominating contests early. His strategy:
"I win in the early states. I mean, it's the way the nomination is always decided."
Edwards learned that the hard way in his 2004 campaign, when early wins by John Kerry in Iowa and New Hampshire gave him momentum in other states.