Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan appears to have taken a slight lead over former Republican Rep. Jim Talent in Missouri's closely watched Senate race.

In a poll of 501 likely voters, conducted by Zogby International and published Sunday by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 48 percent supported Carnahan to 40 percent in favor of Talent. Ten percent said they were undecided.

The poll, conducted last week, had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. A Zogby poll last month showed Talent received support from 47 percent of those surveyed, compared to 46 percent for Carnahan, within the margin of error.

In recent weeks, Carnahan has made efforts to improve her standing among male voters and in the St. Louis area. The poll found Talent with a slight edge among male voters; last month, Talent held a 13-point lead among men.

Talent served in the U.S. House from 1992 to 1998 and was an unsuccessful Republican nominee for governor in 2000.

Carnahan's husband, Gov. Mel Carnahan, died in a plane crash three weeks before Election Day 2000. He still was elected to the Senate, unseating current Attorney General John Ashcroft, and his wife was appointed to the seat.