Mitt Romney's Expanding Map: Desperation or Realization?

Why are GOP outside groups and the Romney campaign starting to spend money and time moving into blue territory such as Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan?

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Here are some theories:

1. Ohio is a lost cause so Team Romney needs another path to 270: Despite the plethora of media polls showing Obama ahead in the Buckeye state, GOPers not affiliated with the Romney campaign say they have polling showing a dead heat or Romney slightly ahead. In that vein, we are left to wonder whether Romney's decision to run a blatantly false ad in Toledo - re: Jeep factory moving to China - is a hail Mary or a way to try and tip this very tight contest?

2. Better Bang for the Buck: Campaigns and the outside groups have lots of money to spend and not a lot of places to spend it.

Not only is it prohibitively expensive to try to buy last-minute ad time in places such as Ohio and Virginia, there simply might not be any ad time to buy. TV stations have to make ad time available to campaigns, but not to outside groups. Moreover, the TV stations aren't required to provide the most-highly desired times (like prime time or morning time) to candidates.

If an outside group wants to get the biggest bang for its buck, states such as Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan is where they'll get it.

3. Trying to Make Something Out of Demographics: What do Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Michigan have in common?

Vote in 2008:

National = 74 percent white

Pa. = 81 percent white;

Minn. = 90 percent white

Mich. = 82 percent white

Latest ABC News-Washington Post tracker, Romney gets 57 percent of the white vote, including 60 percent of white men

4. Trying to Keep Momentum Storyline Going Even Though Momentum Is Gone:

As our tracking poll has shown, whatever momentum Romney had last week has stalled. So, what better way to keep the "momentum" storyline going than to show a campaign confident enough to expand the map.