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Fox News Poll: President Obama leads GOP contenders in swing states

President Obama leads each Republican contender in swing states according to a Fox News Swing State Poll that also suggests a significant shift in the battleground landscape.

The new poll, released Wednesday, shows Obama leads Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich in the all important swing-states.

The registered-voter poll was conducted across 10 states where Obama had small margins of victory in 2008 and are considered decisive in the upcoming presidential election.

These swing states fall into three regional tiers:
• the Rocky Mountain tier includes Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico
• the Rust Belt tier includes Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
• the Dixie tier includes North Carolina, Florida and Virginia

The swing-state voters back President Obama over Romney by 8 percentage points, and over Santorum by 9 points.

President Obama tops Ron Paul by 12 points in the poll.

Gingrich lags farthest behind Obama, as voters in these key states prefer the president to the former Speaker by 20 points.

Overall, swing-state voters look much like the national electorate.

Obama currently holds a 14-point lead over Romney in the Dixie states, and an 18-point edge over Santorum.

Compare that to the more cautious mood in the Rust Belt states where Santorum ties with the president, and voters are almost evenly split between Romney and Obama (+1 point).

Rocky Mountain voters give Obama a 7-point edge over Romney.
Nationally, voters approve of President Obama (48 to 45 percent) — his highest approval rating in more than seven months.

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