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Meanwhile, the principal players are in dogged campaign mode.

The hopefuls will be in six states in the next 72 hours. Mitt Romney visits Utah and Idaho, Rick Santorum goes to Michigan and Ohio — attending not one but three Lincoln Day dinners, Rep. Ron Paul travels to Washington and Idaho, while Newt Gingrich spends the weekend in Georgia, concentrating on fundraising and local Republican rallies.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Image-jacking.”

(A new form of political attack that manipulates Internet search engines and other online tools to produce unfavorable public impressions of candidates that can go viral among voters. Candidates are often powerless to control them.)

“It is a distraction, and the more attention such sideshow distractions receive only takes away from politicians’ ability to get their message out,” says Kenneth Wisnefski, the New Jersey-based reputation-management expert who coined the term.

POLL DU JOUR

• 81 percent of Americans do not think “using artificial means of birth control is wrong.”

• 79 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of tea partyers, 78 percent of conservatives, 78 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of liberals agree.

• 17 percent overall say birth control is wrong.

• 20 percent of Republicans, 20 precent of tea partyers, 20 percent of conservatives, 19 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of liberals agree.

• 50 percent of Americans overall disapprove of President Obama’s policy requiring employers, including religious organizations, to pay for birth control.

• 85 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of tea partyers, 75 percent of conservatives, 26 percent of Democrats and 20 percent of liberals also disapprove.

• 44 percent overall approve of Mr. Obama’s new policy.

• 12 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of tea partyers, 21 percent of conservatives, 70 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of liberals also disapprove.

Story Continues →