New from Rasmussen, it’s the second poll in as many days showing Romney up two points in NH. Of the last eight polls taken in the state, he leads in four, is tied in two more, trails by a single point in another, and the last is an outlier. (Rasmussen’s last poll of NH, taken eight days ago, had Obama up by a point.) Why should you care about that? Simple: If Ohio doesn’t pan out for Mitt, his lone remaining path to the presidency may well be hitting an exacta with New Hampshire and Wisconsin. If he wins Florida, Virginia, and Colorado, all of which are big but necessary ifs, that’ll put him at 257 in RCP’s electoral vote model. He can then get to 270 either with Ohio (18) or with NH + WI (14). I’m thinking those two states are a bit likelier to turn red than, say, Iowa or Nevada, not only because of the current RCP poll averages but because of the GOP ticket’s regional ties to them. (Romney not only governed the state next door, he has a vacation home in New Hampshire.) Besides, Iowa and Nevada each have only six EVs, so the most they can do for him without winning Wisconsin, New Hampshire, or Ohio is clinch a dreaded 269-269 tie. But then, the odds of Mitt winning IA and NV (or PA or MI) while losing the other three seem astronomical. So Ohio remains Plan A, but Wisconsin and New Hampshire are Plan B. He’s on track, narrowly, in the latter state, but there hasn’t been a new poll of Wisconsin since Sunday. Maybe tomorrow? Until then, this intriguing tidbit will have to do:

Priorities USA is, of course, Obama’s Super PAC. Team O is talking verrrry tough to Mark Halperin (“I was struck by the expression of near certainty that their candidate would be re-elected”), but Josh Kraushaar makes a nice point about the battleground states. One thing they have in common is that they’re not in O’s demographic sweet spot:

The one hole in that argument is their own acknowledgment of where they’re running strongest — the five-state firewall of OH, IA, NH, NV and WI. With the notable exception of NV, these are heavily-white states and skew older. These aren’t the states where their base coalition; it’s where they’re running competitively enough with white voters (particularly working-class women). And implicity, they acknowledge they’re not ahead (they’re tied, presumably) in the states with the highest youth/minority vote combo: VA, NC and CO.

So if the GOTV operation is firing on all cylinders in a state like VA but the race is even, one would imagine he’s struggling with white voters. And in order to win those firewall states, he has to overperform his natl average with those same white voters.

Via John McCormack of the Standard, the early voting totals among O’s base in Virginia are apparently lagging:

Per RCP’s EV projections, if Obama holds on in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, and Nevada, he’s at 249 and needs to find 21 votes between Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Colorado. Virginia has the second-most EVs in that list behind Ohio, so if he loses them both, he’ll have to win all three of the others to clinch. Not impossible, but if the bigger battleground states are tilting away from him, it’d be some trick if he figured out a way to reverse that momentum in the smaller ones and pile up enough of them to eke over the finish line.

Update: Just as I’m writing this, Time is out with a new poll of Ohio showing Obama up by five. However: