Poll: Obama and Romney neck and neck

President Obama holds a slight lead over Mitt Romney nationally, but Romney has closed the gap since last month, according to a CNN-ORC poll released on Friday.

Obama leads 49 to 46 among registered voters. Obama held a 9 point lead in the same poll in early April, and his current lead is within the poll’s 3 percent margin of error.

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Between Friday’s worse than expected jobs data, fundraising worries and messaging conflicts within the Democratic Party over attacks on Romney’s record at Bain, it’s been a difficult two weeks for the Obama campaign, but there is encouraging data for the president in the CNN-ORC poll.

Voters overwhelmingly say the economy is the most important issue in the election, and even as the Romney campaign has pitched the former Massachusetts governor’s experience in the private sector as a selling point on the economy, voters are split, 45 to 45, over who better understands how the economy works.

Obama has also seen an uptick in job approval rating, now at 52 positive against 47 negative, and holds an advantage over Romney in enthusiasm, with more than 60 percent of Obama supporters saying they strongly support him, compared to 47 percent of Romney supporters.

The CNN-ORC poll, however, is the latest to show Romney closing the gender gap after Obama held a massive lead among female voters earlier in the cycle. Obama’s lead among women has been reduced to 3 points, at 49 to 46.

Romney is also well ahead of Obama among independent voters, who favor the former Massachusetts governor 51 to 39.

The poll of 1,009 registered voters was conducted between May 29 and 31.