Race contested in far fewer states than in past

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – So much for Mitt Romney’s plans to compete for Democratic-trending Michigan or Pennsylvania. And what about President Barack Obama’s early hopes of fighting it out for Republican-tilting Arizona, Georgia or Texas? Forget them.

The presidential battleground map is as compact as it’s been in decades in the hunt for the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory. That means just a fraction of Americans will determine the outcome of the race for the White House.

The candidates are concentrating on nine of the 50 states: Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin.

Some 93 percent of the $746 million spent so far on campaign ads has poured into those states, which include less than a quarter of the nation’s voters.

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