Hillary Clinton would be on course for a landslide victory over Mitt Romney, with a lead five points larger than Barack Obama's, if she was on the ballot paper instead of the president in Tuesday's US election, according to a poll.
The survey by YouGov, shown exclusively to the Guardian, has the secretary of state beating Romney by 51% to 45% among likely voters. Obama leads Romney by 48% to 47%.
YouGov estimates that Clinton's lead would translate into a massive victory in the electoral college, by 347 to 191 votes. The polling company, which surveys regularly in the US, believes Clinton would win both Florida and North Carolina, states that it projects Obama to lose.
The findings are likely to add to the clamour for Clinton to seek the presidency in 2016, when she would be the frontrunner for her party's nomination.
Many Obama supporters will not be too rattled by the survey. For one thing, hypothetical candidates tend to do better than actual ones, especially incumbents.
Secretaries of state are often more popular than the presidents they serve, as both Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice discovered. They enjoy the prestige of high office but have to make no unpopular domestic decisions and bear no responsibility or blame for the economy.
Still, the poll shows Clinton performing more strongly than Obama among almost every group: men and women, Republicans and independents, those earning less than $40,000 a year and those earning more.