Obama opens up a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney, according to new poll

President Obama leads GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney by 10 percent, according to a Suffolk University poll released on Monday.

Obama leads Romney 47 percent to 37 percent, and leads Rick Santorum 49 percent to 37 percent.

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Of the 1,070 people the poll surveyed, 39 percent were Democrats, 34 percent were Republicans, and 22 percent were either independent or unaffiliated.

The poll was conducted between March 21 and 25, and has a 3 percent margin of error.

Suffolk’s findings are greater than the Real Clear Politics average of polls, in which Obama holds a 5 percent lead over Romney. In addition, a survey from conservative polling outlet Rasmussen, also released on Monday, shows Obama with only a 3 percent lead over Romney.

According to the Suffolk survey, the president’s job approval rating is at 46 percent, with 45 of those surveyed percent saying they disapprove. This is in line with most other current polls.

The president also holds a 15 percent lead in favorability over Romney. Fifty-two percent said they have a favorable view of the president, with 43 percent unfavorable. Only 38 percent said they have a favorable view of Romney, compared to 44 percent unfavorable.

The drawn-out primary process is hurting the Republican candidates, according to the poll, with 43 percent saying they are now less likely to support the Republican candidate in the general election, while only 29 percent said they are now more likely to support the Republican candidate.

“The Republican Primary race is taking its toll on Mitt Romney and the GOP,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, in a statement. “The Republican Primary process has been so divisive that frustrated voters are saying that they would rather vote for a third-party candidate than one of the Republicans, which clearly benefits President Obama. Romney’s unfavorables have shot up over the past year, while Obama’s core numbers have held in the mid-high forties."

There is some good news in the poll for Republicans: Suffolk found that a majority of voters, 54 percent, believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, while only 36 percent said the country is headed in the right direction.