The presidential race has narrowed to a core of nine states, a collection of margin-of-error battlegrounds spread across nearly every region.

From New Hampshire in the Northeast to Nevada in the Rocky Mountain West, there is little disagreement between the two campaigns about the places where the election will be won and lost. Aside from those two swing states, there are seven others: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Some of them are familiar presidential battlegrounds, accustomed to playing a pivotal role every four years. Others are relative newcomers to the swing state roster. Every one of them was carried by President Barack Obama in 2008.

According to interviews with campaign officials and strategists, here’s the state of play and the forces at work in the nine states:

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