The New York Times/CBS News poll found Obama ahead of his Republican challenger 49 percent to 46 percent among likely voters, within the margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points. Obama had an 8-point lead among registered voters, 51 percent to 43 percent.
The poll showed 47 percent of likely voters now believe Obama is the best choice to fix the economy and create jobs, with 46 percent for Romney. This is the first time Obama has overtaken Romney's edge in the economic realm, the Times said.
Obama holds a 10-point lead on foreign policy, with only one in four likely voters saying Romney can handle an international crisis.
The survey was conducted Sept. 8-12, after the Democratic National Convention but before the flareup of violence in the Middle East.
Eight percent of men and 20 percent of women said Obama understands their needs and problems more than Romney.
Obama has an advantage of 12 percentage points among women and among voters of all ages except those over 65, who favor Romney by 15 percentage points. Romney leads by 8 points among male likely voters, the Times said.
The nationwide telephone poll among 1,170 registered voters and 1,162 likely voters had an error margin of 3 percentage points.