The latest Gallup Poll suggests that Hillary Clinton runs far better against John McCain than her rival Barack Obama, not just in swing states but in a head to head battle for electoral votes in a hypothetical general election as well.

The new poll’s results indicate that in the states where she claimed victory, Senator Hillary Clinton averages a seven percentage point lead over Senator John McCain, while Barack Obama is locked in virtual tie with McCain in those same states, holding only a 46 percent to 45 percent lead.

The stark drop off in support for Barack Obama in these Democratic strongholds may prove to be Clinton’s strongest case for the nomination based on the Gallup results.

According to further analysis by Gallup’s Lydia Saad, in a hypothetical Clinton-McCain general election matchup Clinton leads McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, by 50 percent to 43 percent.

“Clinton is currently running ahead of McCain in the 20 states where she has prevailed in the popular vote,” Saad writes, “while Obama is tied with McCain in those same states.

“Thus, at this stage in the race (before the general-election campaigns have fully engaged), there is some support for her argument that her primary states indicate she would be stronger than Obama in the general election.

“The same cannot be said for Obama in the 28 states and D.C. where he prevailed in the popular vote.

“As of now, in those states, he is performing no better than Clinton is in general-election trial heats versus McCain. Thus, the principle of greater primary strength translating into greater general-election strength — while apparently operative for the states Clinton has won — does not seem to apply at the moment to states Obama has won.”

In November, Clinton’s 20 states represent more than 300 Electoral College votes while Obama’s 28 states and the District of Columbia represent 224 Electoral College votes, Gallup said.

Last week, electoral maps leaked to ABC News from republican strategist Karl Rove’s consulting firm concurred with the Gallup analysis, suggesting that Hillary Clinton had a significantly stronger electoral advantage over John McCain than Barack Obama.

Added to the Gallup poll, this is more perplexing news for Democrats who, by the current numbers, may be nominating the weaker candidate in a crucial year.

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