(Reuters) – President Barack Obama extended his lead over Republican Mitt Romney to seven percentage points because of increased support from independent voters and some optimism over the economy, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.
Obama was backed by 49 percent of registered voters in a telephone poll conducted from May 3-7, compared to 42 percent who supported his likely rival in November’s presidential election. In April, the poll showed Obama leading Romney 47 percent to 43 percent.
Obama’s overall approval rating among the 1,131 adults surveyed was 50 percent, up one point from last month, while 47 percent said they disapproved of how he handles his presidency.
“The economy continues to chug along. Presidential ratings are correlated fairly closely with economic optimism and when the public sees things like unemployment going down and other signs of economic recovery, they are more inclined towards voting for the status quo – which in this case is to keep the incumbent in office,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.