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Obama leads Romney by at least 7 points in new polls

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A new CNN/ORC survey shows Barack Obama at a 50 percent favorable rating for the first time since April, while his opponent, Mitt Romney, loses ground to independents, but shores up his support from likely Romney voters.

"Among independent voters, the poll indicates President Obama has a 53%-42% lead," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "The president holds a nine point advantage among women voters and a smaller six point edge among men."

The poll also found that 64 percent of all Americans, and 68 percent of independents, think Romney favors the rich. Romney's reluctance to release his tax returns also is becoming more of an issue, with 63 percent of the public and 67 percent of independents wanting more clarity from the former Massachusetts governor and Bain Capitol CEO.

Furthermore in the bad news department for the Romney camp, at least as far as CNN's poll is concerned, Americans overwhelmingly believe Barack Obama will be re-elected. No matter which candidate they favor, 63 percent say Obama will get his second term.

"That may not translate directly into votes, but it is worth noting that in August of previous election years, the public accurately predicted the winner in 1996, 2000 and 2008, and in 2004 George W. Bush and John Kerry were tied," adds Holland.

UPDATE: While CNN gave Obama a 7-point edge, Fox News paints a slightly worse picture for the Romney camp.

Fox News shows Obama with a 49-40 edge.

"The events of the past two weeks appear to have energized Democratic voters a bit," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News poll with Democratic pollster Chris Anderson. "But perhaps more critically, Romney's support among independents has declined. The Obama campaign has -- at least in the short term -- succeeded in raising questions about Romney's fitness to govern and in making this less of a referendum and more of a choice election."

But Nate Silver blogs at FiveThirtyEight that Romney doesn't need to push the panic button just yet. Of course, announcing a running mate after the Olympics closing ceremonies, as Romney has indicated he'll do, would help level those numbers off.

But just how much bounce does a vice presidential nominee announcement get a guy these days?

Polling graphics via Talking Points Memo's Poll Tracker

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