National writers looking at the latest lead for Pat Toomey in the Quinnipiac poll are forecasting cloudy skies for Joe Sestak, mostly due to the narrowing collection of independent voters.
Chris Cillizza at the WashPost moves his rating on the race to "leans Republican":
Just 40 percent of Pennsylvania voters approve of the job the President is doing while 56 percent disapprove, a striking turnaround in a state that he carried by 10 points in 2008. The news is even worse among electorally critical independents; where just 37 percent approved as compared to 59 percent who disapproved.
Democrats have insisted for several weeks that the race is closing -- thanks to an onslaught of television ads from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee totaling several million dollars -- but the Quinnipiac survey suggests that Sestak isn't closing the gap all that fast. (The Real Clear Politics average of polls conducted in the race of late gives Toomey a 7.8 percent lead.)
Beyond the head-to-head matchup, however, a number of factors suggest that Sestak is facing an uphill battle.
The first is the popularity of President Barack Obama. By a 56-40 percent margin, likely voters disapprove of the job the President is doing. And by a 52-43 percent split, they say they want a Senator who opposes, rather than supports, the President's policies.
Further, by a 46-35 percent margin, likely voters reported that they want Republicans to control the Senate after the November ballots are counted.