CNN — With polls showing the presidential race tightening Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania -- and Republicans signaling they think those three Democratic states could be in play -- whoever wins these states could come out on top by a close shave.
And if GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney takes any of those states, a top adviser to President Barack Obama says shaving is just what he'll do.
On MSNBC Wednesday morning, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said he would go on the network and "shave off my mustache of 40 years if we lose any of those three states."
Voters who remain truly undecided are a small sliver of the electorate, and the campaigns are now engaging in an aggressive setting of expectations. Axelrod and Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, held a conference call with reporters on Monday to "to address the state of the race" and have announced a similar briefing on Wednesday.
Michigan and Pennsylvania last went for a Republican in 1988. Minnesota last went red in 1972.
But polls show margins in these states as close as in some which are rated as toss ups on the CNN Electoral Map.
A Star Tribune poll of Minnesota likely voters conducted from October 23 through 25 showed Obama at 47% and Romney at 44% while a poll conducted by St. Cloud State University between October 15 and 21 showed Obama holding Obama with an advantage over Romney, 53% to 45%, both within the sampling error.
In Pennsylvania, a recent Philadelphia Inquirer poll conducted between October 23 and 25 showed the state was also within the sampling error, with 49% of likely voters backing Obama and 43% supporting Romney.
A poll of likely voters in Michigan conducted from October 27 through 29 by CNN affiliate WDIV-TV and The Detroit News showed Obama at 48% and Romney at 45%, another margin within the sampling error.
Asked about the range of polls, Axelrod said in the Wednesday interview, "With all due respect, to the public polls that are out there, they're all over the map."
He suggested the Romney campaign and their allies were bluffing about their confidence.
"Here's what is true, in the era of super PACs there's a lot of money out there and people can take fliers on states that they don't necessarily thin they're going to win," he said.
Obama's campaign has, however, dispatched resources to those states. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned in Duluth and Minneapolis, Minnesota on Tuesday, and Vice President Joe Biden was expected to campaign in Scranton, Pennsylvania, though that event was canceled in light of Superstorm Sandy.
Obama's campaign will also run a commercial in Pennsylvania, following the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future's $2.1 million buy in the Keystone state.
On Tuesday, Romney's campaign released an energy-themed ad tailored for Pennsylvania. A Republican source told CNN Romney's campaign would be on Pennsylvania airwaves on Monday and Tuesday next week.
A memo focused on Pennsylvania from Romney political director Rich Beeson on Tuesday said that "the Romney campaign has the resources to expand the map in ways that weren't possible in past cycles (without reducing any effort in any other target state)."
"Pennsylvania presents a unique opportunity for the Romney campaign. Over the past few years we have seen Pennsylvania voting for a Republican senator and a Republican governor, and Republicans win control of the State House in addition to the State Senate," he continued. "The western part of the Keystone State has become more conservative (and President Obama's war on coal is very unpopular there), and Mitt Romney is more competitive in the voter-rich Philadelphia suburbs than any Republican nominee since 1988. This makes Pennsylvania a natural next step as we expand the playing field."
In the interview, Axelrod made the mustache bet on the condition that one of the currently clean-shaven interviewers would grow a mustache , should Obama not win the battlegrounds of Florida or North Carolina.
"After the election, you guys aren't going to have that much to talk about so people can tune in every day and watch your mustache grow," he said.