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Jay LaPrete, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this March 2, 2011 file photo, Ducia Hamm, standing, of the Ashland Care Center, testifies in front of the committee on House Bill 125, also known as the heartbeat bill, in Columbus, Ohio. Backers the bill that would impose the nation's strictest abortion limit are pointing to its support among Republican voters as one reason the GOP-controlled Senate should pass the measure.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Backers of an Ohio bill that would impose the nation's strictest abortion limit are pointing to its support among Republican voters as one reason the GOP-controlled Senate should pass the measure.

A Quinnipiac (KWIHN'-uh-pee-ak) University poll released Thursday shows Republicans favor the so-called heartbeat bill 2-to-1. Ohio voters overall are almost evenly divided — 45 percent support the measure, while 46 percent oppose it.

The bill would outlaw abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat, sometimes as early as six weeks into pregnancy. It passed the GOP-led Ohio House in June and has been pending in the state Senate.

The measure's opponents say the split among voters shows why the divisive issue should be shelved.

The survey of 1,610 Ohio voters has a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.