Obama’s improved standing was fueled in part by a slight rise in optimism about the future, with the number of Americans who think the country is on the wrong track dropping 5 percentage points to 58%.
Obama’s approval ratings ticked up 1 point to 48% and the number of Americans who disapprove of his job performance dropped 3 percentage points to 47%.
The shift follows a low point for Obama in June as economic worries deepened and Romney consolidated Republican support after clinching the party’s nomination to challenge him in November. Obama had led Romney by 7 points in May’s poll.
“Last month was a particularly bad time for Obama but now the race seems to have returned to its normal position, which has Obama up a few points,” pollster Chris Jackson said.
The poll of 1,154 adults, including 885 registered voters, was taken between Thursday and Monday. During the period, a weak labor report was issued on Friday that showed sluggish job gains and an unchanged unemployment rate of 8.2% in June.
It also followed a long-anticipated Supreme Court decision late last month upholding Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul. At the same time, gas prices have dropped as the summer driving season gains steam and concerns about the European debt crisis have eased slightly.
Mr Romney and his advisers say they are weighing whether he should announce his choice some weeks earlier than the traditional time of around the Republican National Convention, which is to be held in Tampa in late August.