The Pew Research Center for People and the Press said the Republican challenger leads the Democratic incumbent 49 percent to 45 percent after lagging by 8 points last month.
Among registered voters, the two are tied at 46 percent, with 8 percent still riding the fence. Romney had trailed by 9 percentage points (42 percent to 51 percent) last month among registered voters.
Romney's performance in his first debate with Obama bolstered his standing among registered voters, the pollsters said, with the GOP nominee now more highly regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September. Romney is now seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is better equipped than Obama to get companies to do more hiring and to bring the federal budget under control, the Pew poll found.
Romney received a favorable rating from 50 percent of those polled for the first time, while Obama's rating fell from 55 percent to 49 percent.
Women are warming up to Romney, the poll found, with 47 percent each favoring him and the president. In September, Obama held a 56-38 edge over his challenger.
Romney has a 47-40 edge over Obama when respondents were asked which candidate has new ideas, and the two are tied (44-44) when it comes to people's perception of who is the stronger leader.
Obama is still viewed as the candidate who connects well with ordinary people (49-39) and as the more moderate candidate on the issues.
The Pew poll found Romney and Obama are running about even among those surveyed when it comes to Medicare, foreign policy and taxes. Romney holds a 51-36 edge when it comes to which candidate is perceived as the best to deal with the federal budget deficit.
The national telephone survey of 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters (1,112 likely voters) was conducted Oct. 4-7. The overall margin of error was 2.9 percentage points (3.4 points among likely voters and 3.3 points among registered voters).