Q poll: Toomey has closed 20-point deficit to 1

A new poll shows former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has closed a 20-point gap on Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) in a matter of just two and a half months, and that the two are virtually tied.

The Quinnipiac poll, released Wednesday, shows Specter leading Toomey 45-44 in a virtual tie. In early May, shortly after Specter's party switch, he led Toomey 53-33.

Nearly half - 49 percent - of voters say Specter doesn't deserve reelection, while 40 percent say he does. Independent voters have shifted to Toomey's side by a 46-42 margin.

The switch hasn't been completely smooth for Specter, beginning with some curious comments that still reflected some allegiance with Republicans and, more recently, some grumbling about his tough tone with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

The poll showed Specter still performs well in the Democratic primary against Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), leading him 55-23. But Sestak remains unknown to much of the state.

Between the closing poll numbers and Toomey's strong $1.6 million fundraising quarter, it might be time to start looking at this race as competitive. The race fell off the radar a bit when former Gov. Tom Ridge (R) opted not to run following Specter's party switch.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) gave Toomey a vote of confidence with their endorsement recently, so perhaps it has started to see an opening here.