Specter's GOP Challenger Gains Ground, Poll Shows

Sen. Arlen Specter's likely challenger in the 2010 Pennsylvania Senate race is gaining ground but still trailing following Specter's switch to the Democratic Party, according to a new poll. 

A Quinnipiac University poll showed former Rep. Pat Toomey trailing Specter by 9 points, 37-46 percent, in a hypothetical general election. 

That's better than Toomey's showing in a May 4 poll, in which he trailed Specter by 20 points immediately following Specter's party switch -- a switch Specter decided to make in large part because polls showed Toomey beating him in the GOP primary race. 

The numbers and candidates in the Pennsylvania race are still in a state of flux. Former Republican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was considered a possible challenger, but he opted not to run earlier this month despite a Quinnipiac survey showing him competitive against Specter in a general election. 

Now Toomey is the leading GOP candidate. Another potential Democratic challenger recently dropped out of the race against Specter as well. 

And though Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., is expected to challenge Specter in the Democratic primary, the latest Quinnipiac poll shows the lesser known congressman trailing the five-term senator by nearly 30 points.