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The New York Times passes along a bit of truth:

In spite of clichés about Nascar dads and Walmart moms, the actual share of voters nationally who are up for grabs is probably between just 3 percent and 5 percent in this election, polling experts say. The Obama and Romney campaigns are expected to spend on the order of $2 billion, in part to try to sway this tiny share of the electorate.

….A decline in swing voters would help explain why Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney have stayed within just a few points of each other, across many polls, despite months of a gyrating economy and attacks on both candidates.

It’s also important to mobilize your base and get them out to the polls, so it’s not as if appealing to this tiny number of swing voters is literally the only thing presidential candidates care about. Still, it’s most of what they care about. What’s more, they don’t even care about all the swing voters, just the ones in swing states. If you were to break down the actual number of human beings the two campaigns are really truly trying to persuade, it might be no more than 2% of the population. All the rest of us are just bystanders.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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