The fallout over Mitt Romney's infamous "47-percent" comments has become a key factor in the ongoing race for the White House.
Both President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, of course, have been desperately wooing this large — and economically-challenged — middle-class voting bloc.
That's especially true in the swing states — think Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania — that are likely to decide this election, and where lots of middle-class Americans live.
But with new polls showing President Barack Obama widening his lead, there was more bad news today on the middle class front for GOP candidate Mitt Romney.
According to a poll by the Washington Post and ABC News, 54 percent of Americans who heard the Romney fundraising comments regarded them in "an unfavorable light."
But the pain for Romney's campaign cuts even deeper.
Here's how the Post's Jon Cohen digs into the numbers:
"Sixty-one percent of all Americans — and voters alike — express negative views of how the Republican challenger is running his campaign. That number is up significantly from July — the near-certain result of the much-publicized comments by Romney. Democrats — and more importantly independents — are the ones souring on Romney’s stewardship of his campaign. Fully 64 percent of political independents now hold unfavorable impressions of Romney’s campaign, up 18 percentage points from July. The turnabout is particularly dramatic among independent women: in July they split 44 to 41 percent on the GOP campaign; now it is 29 percent favorable and 66 percent unfavorable."
The Romney campaign is, clearly, nervous about this latest turn.
Here's a new ad put out by the campaign that tries to soften Romney's views on the middle class, and what his economic policies would do to help them:
President Obama, meanwhile, also has a new TV ad.
You may be shocked to learn that it portrays Romney's 47-percent comments a bit differently.