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With 31 days until the election, Democrat Barack Obama's road to the White House is widening, and Republican John McCain's electoral path is narrowing.

The McCain campaign's decision this week to abandon Democratic-leaning Michigan is the most obvious and dramatic sign, a major tactical retreat that limits the ways he can reach the magic number of 270 electoral votes on Nov. 4.

But McCain is in as bad or worse shape in other battleground states. Barring a dramatic change, he is on course to lose Iowa and New Mexico, both states barely won by President Bush four years ago in his narrow victory over Democrat John F. Kerry. And he and the Republican National Committee this week began pouring money into Indiana and North Carolina, reliably Republican states where the Obama campaign has made strong advances and polls indicate the candidates are roughly tied.

The Obama campaign, meanwhile, has responded this week by significantly increasing its television advertising budget in Indiana and five other states and has even spent $350,000 to air spots continuously on a satellite TV channel, a first for a presidential hopeful.

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