Washington (CNN) - A new poll indicates that the approval rating for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who's up for re-election in 2012, is on the rise.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday, 44 percent of New Jersey voters approve of the job Menendez is doing as one of the Garden State's two U.S. senators, with 36 percent saying they disapprove and one in five not sure. The 44 percent approval rating is up six points from Quinnpiac's last poll, which was conducted in December.
Menendez was appointed senator in January 2006 when fellow Democrat Jon Corzine gave up his seat to take over as governor. Menendez won a full term in office in the 2006 midterm elections, capturing 53 percent of the vote.
The poll suggests a partisan divide, with 63 percent of Democrats questioned saying they approve of the job Menendez is doing, with only 21 percent of Republicans saying they approve of how the senator is handling his duties. Independent voters are divided.
Menendez will be on the ballot next year alongside President Barack Obama. The poll indicates that 55 percent approve of how Obama handling his duties as president, with just over four in ten saying they disapprove. The 55 percent approval rating is up nine points from November.
The poll suggests partisan, gender and racial divides on how the president's doing in the White House.
"A bit of an up-tick for Obama. Black voters approve enthusiastically and he gets a slight negative among white voters," says Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "New Jersey women like the president a lot more than men."
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted February 3-7, with 1,347 New Jersey voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
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