A poll released just before their nationally televised debate in Delaware's Senate race shows Democrat Chris Coons with a big lead over Republican tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell.
The CNN/Time poll released Wednesday shows Coons leading O'Donnell among likely voters in Delaware, 57 percent to 38 percent. A similar poll last month showed Coons with 55 percent and O'Donnell at 39 percent.
The telephone poll of 834 likely voters was conducted from Oct. 8 to Oct. 12 by Opinion Research Corporation, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
Coons and O'Donnell were to meet Wednesday night in a 90-minute debate at the University of Delaware, with a live CNN broadcast of the first hour.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
NEWARK, Del. (AP) -- Republican Senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell has a fresh chance to make an impression with Delaware voters during a nationally televised debate Wednesday night.
The tea party favorite has been in the spotlight since her surprise win in the GOP primary. She has been parodied on Saturday Night Live because of her remarks about dabbling in witchcraft as a teenager. Other comments she made as a conservative activist years ago have also drawn scrutiny.
O'Donnell will debate Democrat Chris Coons at the University of Delaware. Several recent polls show her badly trailing Coons, a county executive.
The debate, which will be broadcast on CNN, starts at 7:30 p.m.