[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/17/art.lindamcmahon3.gi.jpg caption =" A new poll indicates that GOP Senate hopeful Linda McMahon is closing ground against Democrat Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut'."]
(CNN) – Ex-wrestling executive Linda McMahon continues to close ground against Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in the state's increasingly contentious Senate race, a new poll indicates.
The latest poll by Quinnipiac University shows that McMahon has come within six points of Blumenthal, a development that is "surprisingly close" given Blumenthal's 70 percent approval rating as the state's attorney general, said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.
According to the poll released Tuesday, Democrat Richard Blumenthal leads Republican Linda McMahon 51 to 45 percent among likely voters in the U.S. Senate race. Three percent of likely voters are undecided, and 11 percent say they could change their mind by Election Day, according to the poll.
This was the first general election survey of likely voters conducted by Quinnipiac this cycle.
But previous Quinnipiac polls taken of registered voters in Connecticut prior to the Senate primaries also showed Blumenthal's once staggering lead rapidly declining as McMahon's well-funded campaign gained momentum.
According to the latest poll, Blumenthal now leads 87 to 10 percent among Democrats and gets 47 percent of independent voters to McMahon's 46 percent. McMahon leads 91 to 9 percent among Republicans.
"The question is whether Linda McMahon can ride the anti-establishment, anti-Democratic wave to victory in blue Connecticut, a state that hasn't voted for a Republican for Senator since Lowell Weicker in 1982," Schwartz said.
The winner of will succeed five-term Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, who announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election. A GOP Senate victory in Connecticut would give the party a big boost towards possibly reclaiming control of the chamber.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted September 8-12, with 875 Connecticut likely voters surveyed by telephone with live interviewers. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
– Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.