WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama widened his lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney to 7 percentage points in a Reuters/Ipsos poll of likely voters on Thursday, the latest survey to show the Democrat ahead in the run-up to the Nov. 6 election.

The daily online poll asked 990 likely voters over the previous four days which candidate they would pick if the vote took place today, with 48 percent choosing Obama and 41 percent picking Romney.

The gap has been widening since Obama grabbed the lead in the rolling poll on Sept. 7 when he scooped up 46 percent of likely voters to Romney's 44 percent after the Democratic convention.

"What that really means is that Obama is in good shape," said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark, attributing some of Obama's uptick to the slowly improving sentiment toward the direction of the country shown in Wednesday's telephone poll.

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