But if you are the Republicans, the obvious pivot is to Wisconsin, where the choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate has provided their ticket a genuine boost in the polls. While Wisconsin has just 10 electoral votes, it's a crucial number—with North Carolina, Ohio, Florida and Virginia, Wisconsin would put Romney at 276 EVs and the victory. With North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Colorado, Wisconsin would get Romney to 272.
Sure, each of those scenarios requires Romney to hit a triple bank shot, but it's about the only plausible path to victory.
So with Wisconsin competitive and critical to any chance of Romney victory, this story was particularly perplexing:
The states seeing the biggest spending in this buy round are Virginia, Ohio, and Florida with about $1 million each.Romney has raised $100 million three months straight, and he's not putting any money into Wisconsin? With these spending decisions, the Romney campaign has ceded 247 EVs to Obama. How significant is that? Obama could lose all those targeted states except for Florida (29), and win the election. He can win either Ohio (18) or North Carolina (15), plus one other targeted state not named New Hampshire (4), and win the election.
Also notably, Romney is spending about $600,000 in this buy on North Carolina, a state most analysts see as beginning to trend toward Romney, but close enough that he may have to spend money here.
The other states he will be up in with this buy – Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.
Any four of those eight states, including the smaller ones Nevada (6), Colorado (9), Iowa (6) and New Hampshire, would be enough for Obama to win the election.
In other words, Romney's playing field is so tiny that it requires him an almost impossible string of victories to hit 270.
So what does that tell us about Mitt Romney's own internal Wisconsin polling? Does it look so bad that he can't bother to spare a million or two of his hundreds of millions in order to give himself a bigger chance of victory? And even if his campaign sees zero chance of winning the state, why not throw a few bucks there to bleed Obama's campaign a bit?
In case you were wondering, the Obama team hasn't felt the need to put any money into Wisconsin either. Clearly, they're feeling good about their chances in the state. However, Obama's Super PAC Priorities USA is reportedly going in. It seems stupid for the Romney team to stay out.