WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama's lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney has grown to 7 percentage points due to increased support from independent voters and more optimism about the US economy, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released 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.

The poll showed a jump in the number of independent voters who approved of the way Obama is doing his job. Forty-eight percent approved and 40 percent disapproved in May compared to 37 percent who approved and 57 percent who disapproved in April.

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