Late Wednesday, the Tarrance Group released a commissioned poll that had Steven Palazzo up by 2 points over incumbent Democrat Gene Taylor.

Tarrance Group Poll of MS-4 for Steven Palazzo 10/20/10

Then Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report officially put MS-4 in the “tossup” category. That’s down from “likely democratic” early in the cycle.

Gene Taylor (D)
Toss Up. Whenever we used to talk about unexpectedly vulnerable Democrats, we would joke, is Gene Taylor next? Now, even Democrats acknowledge Taylor is in very serious trouble. A hot-off-the-press survey conducted by the Tarrance Group for GOP Rep. Steven Palazzo’s campaign and shared with the Cook Political Report, shows Palazzo leading Taylor 43 percent to 41 percent. Don’t look for the DCCC to throw a lifeline to Taylor, who has already said he won’t vote for Speaker Nancy Pelosi again.

This is now officially a horse race.

I have consistently discounted in my mind the Tarrance Group’s polling for Nunnelee and Palazzo by 4 or 5 points. Even still, if Palazzo is only 2-3 points behind Taylor, this thing is anybody’s game in the last 12 days. Taylor continues to misstep and Palazzo continues to capitalize. Make no mistake, MS-4 is a referendum on Gene Taylor. Palazzo just needs to be a palateable enough alternative. But with only 36% of those polled saying that “Taylor deserves re-election”, Palazzo is now in a position to close the deal.

A month ago, I said the hill for Palazzo was just too high to climb, but now I believe it can happen. Regardless of the outcome, it’s gonna be close and it’s now going to come down to ground game.