Obama has big lead in early 2012 poll
President Barack Obama has a strong lead over potential Republican rivals for the presidential election in 2012, a new opinion poll shows.
However, it also highlights the fact that he must overcome serious doubts about his handling of the economy, according to the survey.
The poll offered a boost for the US president after the killing of al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden. Now, 45pc of Americans believe he will win re-election, a 1O-point rise from a poll taken before November's congressional elections.
The survey is an indication of how difficult it will be for Republicans to dislodge an incumbent president in the November 2012 election.
Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said the Republican results were likely to improve as the field takes shape and Americans begin hearing more about Mr Obama's challengers.
"Most people don't know much about any of these people, and there is always an advantage for the incumbent," she said.
The field of possible Republicans challengers to Mr Obama has not generated much enthusiasm so far.
Mr Obama, who made history in 2008 by becoming the first African-American to be elected president, leads possible Republican candidates by double digits.
The president's approval rating is at 49pc, a three-point increase over last month.
Mr Obama got no lift on the economic front, the issue that is most likely to determine whether he wins again in 2012.
Only 34pc of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, a finding linked directly to a surge in gasoline prices to around $4 a gallon.