[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/18/art.pennpoll.ap.jpg caption=" Clinton holds the lead in Pennsylvania, a new poll suggests."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Quinnipiac poll out Tuesday suggests Hillary Clinton holds a clear advantage over Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, the next crucial battleground in the prolonged fight for the Democratic nomination.
Clinton holds a 12-point lead over Obama in the state, 53 percent to 41 percent, according to the poll. The New York senator's lead is double what a similar poll showed in late February, though it is still less than the 18-point gap between the two candidates in a month ago.
Clinton's widest gains in the state are among white voters, who now back her over Obama by a margin of 28 points. That compares to a 19-point gap in the late February poll.
Obama has made gains among Pennsylvania African-Americans, but hasn't drawn the same level of support from them as he has in previous contests. According to the poll, Obama wins 76 percent of the black vote, up from 69 percent in late February. In most recent primary states, Obama's African-American support has hovered around 90 percent. The narrower margin may be due to Clinton's endorsement from Philadelphia's popular black mayor Michael Nutter.
When it comes to the prospect of a joint ticket between the two candidates, 32 percent of Pennsylvania Democrats say they prefer Clinton on the top of the ticket while 18 percent prefer Obama. But 43 percent say they don't want the two to run together.
The new poll is similar to other recent surveys. In a CNN analysis of three recent polls, including Quinnipiac's, Clinton holds an average lead of 13 points over Obama.
Both campaigns have attempted to set the expectations ahead of Pennsylvania's vote. Obama's campaign has repeatedly noted the state is only 1 of 10 remaining contests, while Clinton's campaign has said a win there will prove the New York senator can win crucial swing states in a general election.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney