(CNN) - Voters in a crucial battleground state are divided over whether President Barack Obama deserves another term in the White House, but a plurality would vote for him over an unnamed Republican challenger in 2012, according to a new poll.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday also indicates that a plurality of Ohio voters think that freshman Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown deserves re-election next year.
Forty-five percent of people questioned in the poll say that Obama deserves a second term in office, with 46 percent saying no. And Ohio voters are also split on the job the president's doing in the White House, with 47 percent saying they approve and 48 percent saying they disapprove of how his handling his duties.
The poll indicates the typical partisan divide, with a independents by a 50 to 42 percent margin disapproving of how Obama's doing in office and by a 49 to 40 percent margin saying he doesn't deserve re-election.
But by a 41 to 34 percent margin, Ohio voters say they would vote for Obama in 2012 against an unnamed Republican opponent, with 16 percent saying it depends on who the GOP challenger would be, and nearly one in ten unsure.
"There is little change in President Obama's approval rating in Ohio, which historically has been among the most important swing states in presidential elections, as he's hovering about where he was during most of 2010," says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The small lead over an unnamed Republican and the split verdict on whether he deserves another term indicate that, as has been the case in most presidential elections over recent decades, Ohio will be closely contested."
President George W. Bush edged out Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic challenger, clinching his re-election victory in the 2004 election. Obama took the state by 5 points over Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 contest.
The poll indicates that 43 percent of Ohio voters approve of the job Brown's doing as senator, with 27 percent disapproving and three in ten unsure.
By a 45 to 30 percent margin, they say he deserves re-election and by a 45 to 29 percent margin, they say they would vote for him over an unnamed Republican challenger.
Then-Rep. Brown defeated Republican Sen. Mike DeWine by 12 points in 2006. Besides Obama's victory in 2008, Democrats also captured three GOP held House seats. But Republicans won big in the Buckeye state last November, recapturing the governorship and five House seats.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted March 15-21, with 1,384 registered voters in Ohio questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.
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