Washington: A new poll brought good cheer to US President Barack Obama leads as it showed him leading Republican challenger Mitt Romney by at least 6 percentage points in three key swing states.

Obama's lead was 53 percent to 42 percent among likely voters in Pennsylvania, 50-44 in Ohio and 51-45 in Florida, according to the CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University poll published on Wednesday.

In all three states, the candidates are nearly tied on a question about who would handle the economy better. And in all three, Obama's approval rating is under 50 percent. But Obama is viewed more favourably in all three and is far more likely to be seen as caring about voters' needs and problems.

Voters are split on Romney's business background: While roughly 42 percent say it will help him create jobs, about half say it is too focused on profits.

Less than one third of voters say either candidate's policies will help their financial situation, though Romney has a slight edge on this question. Voters are also slightly more likely to say Obama's policies will hurt them financially.

Obama's voters are significantly more likely to strongly favour him in all three states. Romney's support is substantially more likely to come from those who say they are motivated primarily by their dislike of the other candidate.

Nine in 10 Romney voters say their mind is made up. Supporters of Obama are slightly more likely to say they could change their mind.

Obama's favourable rating is 50 percent or slightly higher in all three states. Romney's favourable rating, meanwhile, hovers around 40 percent. In all three states the President's favourable rating is higher than his unfavourable rating, while Romney's unfavourable rating is higher than his favourable rating.

The President is seen as better to handle both national security and health care in all three states. Voters are split on who is best to handle the economy, which polls show is the issue most important to Americans.

(Agencies)

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