New national numbers out Monday from Quinnipiac University show 49 percent of voters do not believe President Obama deserves election to a second term in 2012. Among self-identified independents, that number drops to just 35 percent.
Obama is also in a dead heat with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in hypothetical 2012 match-ups.
The best-case scenario for Obama, according to the poll — a general election matchup with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Obama leads Palin 48 percent to 40 percent.
Palin is also viewed more negatively than any other potential GOP contender in 2012. Just 36 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of her, while 51 percent hold an unfavorable opinion.
"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," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said of Palin.
Obama also came out on top in a matchup with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels — 45 percent to 36 percent.
"The Democratic base remains squarely behind President Barack Obama when it comes to his reelection, but his weakness among independent voters at this point makes his 2012 election prospects uncertain," Brown said.
Still, some 27 percent of Democratic voters said they're looking for a Democrat to challenge Obama for the nomination two years from now.
The poll surveyed 2,424 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.