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Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.

What’s going ‘on’:

Obama nabs lead in swing states:President Obama has grabbed a sizable lead in Ohio and maintains his slight edge among likely voters in Florida, two of the states that may very well determine the outcome of the election, according to new polls by The Washington Post.

Health insurance costs rising steadily: U.S. spending on private health-insurance increased 4.6 percent in 2011 thanks largely to surging prices of medical care rather than more people seeking treatment, according to new data released by the Health Care Cost Institute.

Consumers growing more confident: Consumer confidence picked up considerably over the past month, according to the Conference Board index, which rose from 61.3 in August to 70.3 in September — but both political parties don’t necessarily share the same lifted spirits.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

New law encouraging patent submissions by small firms: The new America Invests Act has made it significantly easier for innovators and entrepreneurs to file for provisional patents, and several lawyers believe it will lead to a flood of applications by tech-minded small businesses, according to a report from Reuters.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to spend your online advertising dollars (OSB)

How to vet a new business location (Network Solutions)

How to work with tech engineers and coders (Inc.)

How to avoid major mistakes on Facebook (Entrepreneur)

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.

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