Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama leads Sarah Palin by 8 percentage points in a hypothetical 2012 general election matchup, according to a new national poll.
But a Quinnipiac University survey also indicates that a plurality of Americans don't think Obama deserves to be re-elected to a second term in the White House.
Forty-nine percent of people questioned in the poll, which was released Monday, say that the president does not deserve to be re-elected, with 43 percent saying he does deserve a second term and nine percent unsure.
An Associated Press-GfK survey released 11 days ago indicated that 54 percent thought Obama should be voted out of office in 2012, with 39 percent saying the president deserves to be re-elected, and nine percent unsure. The AP-GfK survey was conducted November 3-8, in the days immediately after major Republican victories in the midterm elections.
According to the Quinnipiac poll, Republicans by a 92 to 4 margin and independents by a 51 to 35 margin don't think Obama deserves to be re-elected, with more than eight in ten Democrats saying that the president does deserve a second term.
"The Democratic base remains squarely behind President Barack Obama when it comes to his re-election, but his weakness among independent voters at this point makes his 2012 election prospects uncertain," says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"The demographic splits in the electorate when voters are asked whether the president deserves a second term is a roadmap for his re-election strategists on how they need to focus their appeal. Only 39 percent of men, 34 percent of whites, 35 percent of political independents and 38 percent of those over age 35 think he deserves four more years in the Oval Office," adds Brown.
According to the poll, Obama has a 48 to 40 advantage over Palin in a hypothetical general election matchup. The president also held an 8-point advantage, 52 to 44 percent, over the former Alaska governor in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation released two weeks ago.
The Quinnipiac survey indicates that Obama has a 44 to 37 percent advantage over Palin among independent voters.
According to the poll, hypothetical matchups between the president other possible 2012 GOP presidential contenders have closer margins. Former Massachusetts Gov. and 2008 Republican presidential candidate received 45 percent to 44 percent for Obama, while the president has 46 percent to 44 percent for former Arkansas Gov. and 2008 GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee. Obama leads Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels 45 to 36 percent.
"At this point, former Alaska Gov. Palin runs the worst against President Obama. Daniels is essentially a generic Republican because of his anonymity to most voters. Obama only gets 45 percent against him while he gets 48 percent against Ms. Palin," said Brown. "She is very unpopular among independents and although she recently said she thought she could defeat Obama, the data does not now necessarily support that assertion."
According to the survey, Romney, Huckabee, Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are bunched together when Republican voters are asked who they prefer for the GOP's 2012 presidential nomination. Other recent polls from CNN/ORC and Gallup have similar results.
To be fair, polls at this stage in the next cycle are heavily influenced by name recognition and popularity.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted November 8-15, with 2,424 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus two percentage points.
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