Republican Marco Rubio is sprinting toward the Iowa caucuses, avoiding direct confrontations with his opponents and instead, projecting a vision that looks more toward the general election.

Marco Rubio speaks to guests during a town hall meeting on January 24, 2016 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Polls show Ted Cruz and Donald Trump ahead in Iowa, but Rubio has been gaining.

He's told supporters "We are not just picking a political party, we are picking the very identity of our nation."

It's part of the 44-year old Rubio's effort to cast himself as part of a new generation of conservative Republicans. while characterizing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton as an embodiment of a longstanding partisan gridlock.