The poll was conducted between Oct. 15 and 17, a period that included the second presidential debate between Obama and Romney. Democrats have been hoping that Obama's performance in that debate would erase his weak performance in the first debate, earlier this month, against his Republican challenger.

Obama's lead in Wisconsin and Iowa in the MSNBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey are similar to the poll's findings in September, when Obama had a lead of 8 percentage points in Iowa and 5 percentage points in Wisconsin.

On favorability, 47 percent of Wisconsinites said they have a favorable opinion of Romney while 47 percent said they have a negative view of the former Massachusetts governor. In September, the poll found 43 percent of Wisconsin voters viewed Romney favorably while 46 percent viewed him unfavorably. In Iowa, 51 percent said they have an unfavorable view of Romney while 44 percent have a favorable view of him.

By contrast, 54 percent of voters in Iowa said they have a favorable view of Obama while 43 percent view him unfavorably in the state. In Wisconsin, 53 percent said they have a favorable view of the president while 44 percent said they have an unfavorable view.

The poll's findings will be welcome news for the Obama campaign as a number of national polls have found favorable results for Romney. A recent seven-day tracking poll by Gallup found Romney leading Obama, 52 to 45 percent, nationally among likely voters.

The MSNBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points for Wisconsin and 2.9 percentage points for Iowa. The poll surveyed 1,137 likely voters in Iowa and 1,013 likely voters in Wisconsin.