President Obama expanded his lead over Mitt Romney in a new national poll from CNN released Thursday.
Obama registers 50 percent support for the first time in the network's polling since April. Overall, Obama leads Romney by 7 points, 52 percent to 45 percent, a 4-point bump from his 49 percent to 46 percent lead in CNN's July numbers.
"Among independent voters, the poll indicates President Obama has a 53%-42% lead," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland told CNN.com. "The president holds a nine point advantage among women voters and a smaller six point edge among men."
That's a major turnaround for Obama with unaffiliated voters: In CNN's July poll, Romney led among independents, 49 percent to 42 percent.
Obama's advantage in the CNN poll moves his lead up in the PollTracker Average of the national race to 4.6 percent.
The poll suggests Romney's favorability rating has been a major downfall for the former Massachusetts governor among independent voters. Romney's personal image rating has tumbled after a very tough summer of campaigning, and the numbers bear it out.
"Among independents, the poll indicates Romney's image has taken a beating," CNN wrote. "In May, only 40% of independents had an unfavorable view of Romney. Now, 52% of independents have a negative view of him."
Romney's main campaign pitch, his ability to handle the economy, has waned under attacks from Obama:
Most significantly, it appears that Romney's image as a can-do guy on the economy may have also been hurt. In May, 50% of all Americans said that the economy would get better if Romney were elected. That's now down to 45%, three points below Obama's number. It's likely that all of this is the result of the Democrats' efforts to paint Romney in an unflattering light, but so far Obama has avoided any blowback from that strategy, as evidenced by no rise in his unfavorable rating.
The CNN poll used 1,010 live telephone interviews with Americans (760 interviews by landline, 250 by cell) conducted from Aug. 7-8, which included 911 with registered voters. The total has a sampling error of 3 percent, 3.5 percent for registered voters.