Republican Tom Smith, once thought a long-shot for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, continues to close in on his Democratic opponent, incumbent senator Bob Casey, Jr. A new poll of 725 likely voters from the Republican-affiliated firm Susquehanna Polling and Research shows a 2-point race, with 46 percent of voters supporting Casey and 44 percent supporting Smith.

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That’s close to the 45 percent to 42 percent lead Casey had in mid September, but smaller than his 45 percent to 36 lead from SP&R’s July survey. Independent voters are tilting toward Smith 41 percent to 37.

“Smith has gained considerably when compared with our July survey, when Casey led Smith by a 45-36 margin – representing an 8-point gain for Smith with Casey’s ballot position virtually unchanged in 4 months of surveys since July,” the pollster wrote in the release memo.

The Real Clear Politics poll average of the race now finds Casey with a 6.3-point lead, and several recent polls have suggested Smith is closing in on his Democratic opponent. Smith, a wealthy farmer and businessman from western Pennsylvania, has been running TV ads throughout the state's media markets, while Casey has only recently taken to airing ads in the critical Philadelphia market.

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