Last night on Channel 4, Matt Frei travelled across the American Midwest ahead of next week's presidential election.
Frei was born and grew up in Germany (he did a very good BBC series on Berlin a couple of years back), was educated in England when his father worked here as a journalist and is now a foreign correspondent in Washington. He seems to have picked up the American habit of referring to pretty much the whole population as "middle class", including anyone who's not a millionaire or homeless. In England, someone like the guy he met in Minneapolis who has two jobs, one in a warehouse and one at night in a off licence, would never be called middle-class. I'm not sure how this started, whether it's working-class people aspiring to be middle-class or politicians thinking it best not to talk about a working class excluded from the American Dream.
Frei's trip from Minnesota to Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky didn't reveal much new - guns, racism, poverty - but the Republican pollster who told him that no president has been re-elected with unemployment over 7% makes me think Romney becoming president might not be as unlikely a prospect as it appeared a couple of months back.