Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are working hard to present themselves as defenders of the middle class. But, at this point, middle-class Americans aren't sold on either candidate.
In the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, those who identify themselves as part of the middle class- about 50 percent of those surveyed-are evenly divided on who they think will do a better job on the economy and creating jobs. But, when it comes to who these Americans see as more in-touch with them and their interests, however, President Obama has a significant advantage.
When asked who they think will do a better job on the economy, 49 percent of middle-class Americans said Romney, 45 percent picked Obama. When it comes to who they see as best able to create jobs, the two candidates are statistically tied: 47 percent for Obama and 44 percent for Romney. Obama's job approval rating among this group of voters is an anemic 44 percent. And, in a head-to-head match-up, the two candidates are statistically tied with Obama at 48 percent and Romney at 46 percent.
Those numbers suggest that Democratic attacks on Romney's profile as a corporate apologist who would prioritize business profits over job creation have fallen flat.
However, middle-class voters do believe that Obama will do more to help them and their families. When asked who they thought would "do more to advance the interests of the middle class," Obama had an 11-point lead over Romney (52-41 percent). On the question of "who will do more to advance the interests of you and your family," middle-class voters give Obama a 20-point lead (54-34 percent).
Understanding the cross-pressure these middle-class voters are feeling is critical to understanding the zeitgeist of this election.
Middle-class voters think President Obama gets them, but they don't know if he is up to the job of getting the economy back on track.