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McCain Slides in Poll

According to a Gallup poll released today, Sen. Barack Obama appears to be enjoying a much-anticipated bump following Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s exit from the race and subsequent endorsement of the Illinois senator.

Obama has consistently held a lead of five to seven percentage points each night since it was reported that Hillary Clinton intended to suspend her campaign. These represent Obama’s strongest showing versus McCain to date in Gallup Poll Daily tracking of registered voters’ presidential election preferences. For much of the time since Gallup began tracking general election preferences in mid-March, McCain and Obama have been in a statistical dead heat.

The poll also found that if Obama were to select Clinton as his running mate, he would enjoy another "3-point boost" over McCain and an unnamed vice presidential candidate. However, the poll found Democrats remain somewhat ambivalent about whether Obama should choose Clinton as his veep.

In the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update (based on June 6-8 data), 53 percent of Democrats say Obama should pick his former nomination rival for vice president, while 36 percent say he should choose someone else.

Further complicating the picture is a CNN poll released Friday. It found 39 percent of Clinton supporters would either stay home on election night or vote for McCain if Clinton is not the nominee. With a margin of error of plus or minus 7.5 points, it’s difficult to put too much faith in those numbers. However, they do seem to indicate that Obama could have some issues unifying the party if he chooses someone other than Clinton as his running mate.

In what will no doubt be a continuation of his effort to court dispirited Clinton supporters, McCain will pay a visit to Pennsylvania this week, where Clinton won the Democratic primary by about 9 points. McCain will host — surprise! — a town hall meeting Wednesday morning in Philadelphia. While no Republican has carried The Keystone State since George H.W. Bush in 1988, Sen. John Kerry’s margin in 2004 was thin — two and a half points — and the McCain campaign hopes to add Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes to his column in November.

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