Wisconsin

Today I’m offering my first crack at a new feature on Electionate, where I offer a daily polling round-up and quick takes on matters that I wouldn’t write about otherwise.  So what happened today? While two polls showed Obama ahead and above 48 percent of the vote in critical Virginia, the day’s big newsmaker is Romney’s 5-point advantage in Colorado.

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After months defending traditionally red states like North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Ohio, Romney has finally decided to launch an offensive. Where? Poland: The predictably undefended flank of Obama’s route to 270 electoral votes. Poland is the ancestral homeland of about 3 percent of the American population, but a higher share of a few traditionally Democratic but potentially competitive states, like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where Polish-Americans constitute between 7 and 10 percent of the population.

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One of the early peculiarities of the advertising campaign is the half-hearted effort in Pennsylvania—a state which figured prominently in the electoral calculus of the last three presidential elections. Despite that place in recent electoral history, Romney hasn’t aired any ads in Pennsylvania since the general election began.

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Today is the first day of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual meeting. State legislators from around the country will be attending, as will representatives from corporations looking to pitch model legislation. There will also be spies. Activists from several progressive groups will sneak into the Salt Lake City conference, (at least, they'll try), in hopes of capturing some of ALEC's model legislation.

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Why isn’t Minnesota a swing state?

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Achilles Tar Heel

IN 2008, Barack Obama won the presidency with a coalition that was impressive in its range: Young people loved him, African Americans overwhelmingly supported him, and he was a hit with college graduates. But he also picked up votes in key states from working-class whites—a group he’d struggled to win over in the Democratic primaries. Four years later, that coalition isn’t looking so good. Obama remains popular with minorities and college-educated whites, but enthusiasm among white working-class voters has collapsed.

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There’s no question that Hispanics are among the most coveted voting blocs for November’s election. Numerically, they’re the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. population. Major media regularly monitor their presidential preferences.

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If there’s anywhere the GOP’s fundraising advantage could pay dividends, it’s in the demographically vulnerable and undefended flank of Obama’s path to 270: the Upper Midwest.

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The contours of the electoral map might seem disorienting to those accustomed to the old red-blue divide of the last decade. A bevy of states haven’t returned to their Bush-era patterns—instead, they've moved in opposite directions. Traditionally Republican North Carolina remains doggedly competitive, and Romney isn’t even contesting New Mexico. At the same time, Obama is well beneath 50 percent in states that he carried by 10 percent or more in 2008, like Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

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