Hotline on Call is the best place to watch for an assessment of how the campaign committees view the races around the country, and they have two interesting articles up. First, they see Democrats dropping their spending in some swing races where they’re likely to lose:

According to ad buy data confirmed by both Democratic and Republican sources, the DCCC has reduced its ad reservations for the second to last week of the campaign – Oct. 19 to Oct. 29 – in eight districts, seven of which are held by Democrats. In a few of the districts, Democratic sources insist that the changes were made from a position of strength. But in most, the reductions are a sign that Democrats are facing increasingly long odds.

The changes underscore the challenge facing the DCCC this year in deciding how to allocate its resources in what seems to be an ever expanding playing field. The changes show that the DCCC is trying to be as tactical as possible, allowing themselves the flexibility to shift money in the final week of the campaign.

The districts are: CO-04 (Betsy Markey), NM-02 (Harry Teague), TX-17 (Chet Edwards), FL-24 (Suzanne Kosmas), IN-08 (Brad Ellsworth’s open seat) and KS-03 (Dennis Moore’s open seat). In two other races, LA-02 (held by Republican Joseph Cao) and AZ-08 (Gabrielle Giffords), the DCCC also reduced buys, but they say that’s because they have those races well in hand. However, it looks like the other six races are being let go by the national committee.

Adding to this is this report about ad spending in some unlikely races, where the numbers have tightened and the Democrats are looking to stave off a big wave:

This week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running ads in seats held by Reps. Bill Delahunt (Mass.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Phil Hare (Ill.), Bill Foster (Ill.), Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), and John Salazar (Colo.). In each district, Democrats won re-election by significant, if not overwhelming, margins in 2008. Now, Democrats view every one of those seats as endangered.

The districts represent a broad cross-section of the country, from Foster’s suburban Chicago seat to Delahunt’s tony Cape Cod district, from Salazar’s Western Slope to Boswell’s mix of urban Des Moines and rural farmland. President Obama won six of those seven districts with more than 54 percent of the vote (Obama took 48 percent of the vote in Salazar’s district, narrowly losing to John McCain) [...]

Democrats are endeavoring, in essence, to find the edge of the Republican wave and begin fighting back. By defending members who are least at risk, the theory goes, they can put those races away early, leaving them free to concentrate their fire on Republican candidates more likely to win Democratic seats.

A senior Democratic official familiar with the party’s spending habits described the playing field as akin to a bull’s-eye: Democrats work at the margins to shrink the bull’s-eye, defending candidates who are easily saved before moving on to more vulnerable members, erecting a firewall against the advancing Republican storm.

Republican allies made a dumb mistake this week by running an ad against “Ken Salazar” instead of John. But clearly, both sides are playing in this seat and others like it, on the outer edge of the wave.

Swing State Project has more on today’s independent expenditures here.