Republican are most enthusiastic about voting in the 2012 elections than Democrats, according to a new poll released Thursday.

According to the Gallup Poll, 45 percent of Democrats say they are more excited about voting in the 2012 elections while 44 percent say they are less enthusiastic. 

Those numbers are in stark contrast to the last few presidential election cycles when most Democrats said they were excited about voting. In the 2008 presidential election, for example, 79 percent of Democrats said they were more excited about voting while only 15 percent said they were less excited. In 2004 a smaller majority, 59 percent, said they were more excited while 34 percent said they were less excited.

The same poll found that 58 percent of Republican voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting this time around while 30 percent said they are less enthusiastic. The record high Republican enthusiasm to vote in the last decade was in 2004 when 69 percent of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic about voting and 18 percent registered less enthusiasm.

The contrast between Republican and Democratic excitement for voting in 2012 parallels sentiment within each party toward the respective candidates. President Obama's approval ratings have declined among Democrats, but polls often find him still ahead in head-to-head matchups with potential Republican candidates. Meanwhile, Republicans have expressed optimism about winning the Senate and even the presidency.