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Trump poster in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The president's campaign is placing more importance on Pennsylvania amid growing concern that his chances of clinching Wisconsin are slipping, Trump campaign sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, twice Wisconsin's number, actually has been trending higher in recent public and internal polling, a welcome development for the campaign.

  • "We used to think Pennsylvania would be harder to secure and Wisconsin was in the bag. Now it's vice versa," a Trump campaign adviser said.
  • But remember: Trump won both in 2016. If Wisconsin slips, he has to make up the numbers elsewhere.

What we're hearing: The campaign sees the "path of least resistance" running through Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and some combination of Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Minnesota and Nevada, sources close to the campaign tell Axios.

  • The apparent gains in Pennsylvania come amid Trump's anti-Biden messaging on fracking and trade, as well as law-and-order rhetoric that aides believe plays well with the state's white, working-class voters.

A smart analysis from FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich details how the entire election could hinge on Pennsylvania:

  • "Pennsylvania is so important that our model gives Trump an 84 percent chance of winning the presidency if he carries the state — and it gives Biden a 96 percent chance of winning if Pennsylvania goes blue."

In September alone, six of the Trump campaign's top surrogates have been deployed to Pennsylvania, including Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr. (twice) and Vice President Mike Pence.

  • Trump will make his third visit to the state this month on Tuesday, for a rally in Moon Township.
  • “Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are both in our plans, which you can tell by the travel schedules of both the president and vice president," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Axios. "Just like in 2016, President Trump will win Wisconsin and Pennsylvania despite what pundits and prognosticators spout.”

Go deeper

Trump's 2024 begins

Trump speaking to reporters in the White House on Thanksgiving. Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals. 

6 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.