Poll: Romney edges Obama in critical swing state New Hampshire

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There were some encouraging signs for the president, however. Romney's narrow lead in 2012 is far less substantial than the one he held at the same point a year ago, when Romney led Obama by a 47 percent to 39 percent margin.

The president continues to hold a commanding lead among women in the state — beating Romney by 9 percentage points — showing results after the Democrats have emphasized women's issues in past weeks. But Romney holds an even more commanding advantage — 12 points — among male voters.

Obama tended to poll the best among New Hampshire voters who thought the country was headed in the right direction, especially in terms of economic and budgetary policy. Romney, meanwhile, found an advantage with those who continue to be concerned about the country's economic future.

Attitudes about the economy are improving, albeit gradually. Nine percent of respondents rated the economy "excellent" or "good" — up from 3.5 percent last year — with 45 percent saying the economy was in "fair" condition. That's a 10-point increase from last year, but matched by 44 percent who believe the economy is in a "poor" state.