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Voters in battleground states on Romney's '47 percent' comment (+video)

Insensitive and out of touch? Or simply speaking the cold hard truth? Voters in the states still up for grabs have different opinions on the impact of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's controversial '47 percent' comment.

By Thomas BeaumontAssociated Press / September 19, 2012

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan supporters stand across the street from where Vice President Joe Biden spoke Monday, Sept. 17 at the Port of Burlington in Burlington, Iowa.

Brenna Norman/AP

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Des Moines, Iowa

Mitt Romney's offhanded comment that as a candidate he doesn't worry about the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes has quickly entered the bloodstream in the presidential campaign's most hard-fought states.

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His comment, in a video revealed this week, is prompting expressions of shock — but also shrugs — from Nevada to Florida to New Hampshire and the handful of battleground states in between.

Will it sway an election expected to be close?

There was much discussion in the relatively few states that are still considered competitive, likely to decide the race. Here, as elsewhere, the question was whether Romney was showing himself to be insensitive or merely delivering the hard truth a nation at an economic crossroads must face.

People's answers could make an Election Day difference in states where the race is tight.

"It sounds like he's leaving out half of America, if you ask me," said Gary Gabriel, an independent from suburban Columbus, Ohio, who decided in light of Romney's comments to support President Barack Obama.

But the remarks also reaffirmed the opinions of some Romney supporters.

"I worry a lot about the society we're turning into, more of an entitlement mentality," said Randy Schumaker, a Denver-area IT manager.

It all underscored the campaign's focus on the economy. And it stoked deeper questions about voters' expectations about the government's role in Americans' daily lives.

Outrage. Nodding approval. Both followed Romney's contention that 47 percent of Americans support Obama and that they "are dependent upon government" and "believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them."

In a Gallup poll taken Tuesday, about a third of the surveyed registered voters said they would be less likely to support Romney in light of the remarks, But more said the comments would not affect their votes. And most voters have already made up their minds on whom they will support, according to this and other surveys.

More voter voices:

"He does not have that empathy that says he really cares," said Michael Symes from the economically hard-hit Las Vegas area.

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