Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney in Lancaster, Ohio

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney campaign in Lancaster, Ohio

The news for Mitt Romney in Ohio seems to get darker by the day. Not only does Obama lead in most polls of the state but his superior ground game has managed to rack up a big lead with the early vote.

The Obama campaign has been so effective in Ohio that some polling now indicates Romney might stand a better chance in states that were not seen to be in play. For example the Quinnipiac poll out today has Obama up by five in Ohio while the Detroit News poll has Obama leading by only 2.7 percent in Michigan.

Since Romney and his allies are still flush with cash and the media markets in the top swing states are effectively saturated, it makes sense for them to make a long-shot play to expand the map. As a result the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future has put over two million dollars each into TV ads in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well as roughly a million each into Minnesota and New Mexico. All four states were basically considered out of play last month.

The move has forced the Obama team to respond with its own ad buys and even visits to the states by top surrogates.

Romney’s unorthodox attempt to expand the map with only a week left until the election seems like the textbook example of a political Hail Mary pass. It is unlikely to work but it theoretically could. Since Romney’s allies have the resources there is no reason not to take the chance even if the odds are long. As in football, if you down but have time for one last play you might as well try.