The Washington Times - April 12, 2012, 06:21PM

Fresh off dispatching his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney now also leads President Obama in a head-to-head matchup, according to the latest Fox News poll.

Taken Monday through Wednesday, the poll found Mr. Romney with a lead of 46 percent to 44 percent over the incumbent president — powered by a strong showing among self-identified independents, who backed Mr. Romney 43 percent to 37 percent over Mr. Obama.


In the same poll last month, independents were evenly split at 40 percent each.

The poll also showed that while women back Mr. Obama 49-41, men back Mr. Romney by an even greater margin, 52-38, suggesting the gender gap is hurting the president more.

Last week, Mr. Romney swept contests in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia, putting him well ahead of his competitors for the Republican presidential nomination. And on Tuesday, Rick Santorum, who had been the closest competitor to Mr. Romney, dropped out of the race.

The poll of 910 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.