President Obama's approval rating jumped seven points over the last month in the key swing state of Florida, a poll released Thursday showed. 

Fifty-one percent of registered voters in the Sunshine State approve of the way Obama is handling his job, while 43 percent disapprove. That's a complete reversal from April, when his approval rating stood at 44-52 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

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Obama's position against a generic Republican also improved. He leads a hypothetical GOP opponent 44-38 percent this month after trailing 38-41 percent in April. Fifty percent also said the president deserves to be reelected, up eight points. 

The poll shows Obama in a strengthened position in a state that will play a major role in the 2012 presidential election. 

GOP presidential contenders have already begun to lay the groundwork for their campaigns in Florida. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty visited the state one day after officially announcing his presidential bid, and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman plans to locate his campaign headquarters in Florida should he formally enter the race. 

Meanwhile, Democrats have looked to hammer Republicans over Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanZaid Jilani: Paul Ryan worried about culture war distracting from issues 'that really concern him' The Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene exposes GOP establishment's lack of power The Hill's 12:30 Report - Senators back in session after late-night hold-up MORE's (R-Wis.) Medicare reform plan, accusing them of wanting to privatize the popular, but fiscally troubled, entitlement program. The issue could loom large in Florida, which has a sizable population of senior citizens.

Obama, however, is beginning to pick up support from independents, a crucial voting bloc. The group split its approval of Obama 47-45 percent after disapproving of him 55-39 percent last month.

More Democrats also approve of Obama: Eighty-six percent like his job performance, compared to 79 percent in April. 

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,196 registered voters between May 17-23. The margin of error is 2.8 percentage points.