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Senate Snapshot, September 20th

Senate outcome odds, September 20th
Given what I know about two polls that will be released tomorrow, there will not be a snapshot tonight that excludes Rasmussen polls. Those upcoming polls will erase the difference between the Rasmussen and non-Rasmussen snapshots, leaving both to project 52 seats for Democrats. The non-Rasmussen Snapshot will return when a difference between the Rasmussen and non-Rasmussen snapshots returns.

Further, expect some real heartburn from some polls to be released tomorrow. Still, scary as those polls will be, I can already tell you they won’t impact Republican chances of controlling the Senate all that much. Democratic odds of control will remain over 99.0%, if the election were held tomorrow.

Finally, a new problem is facing Senate election analysts right now. What should be done to forecast Alaska, now that Senator Lisa Murkowski has announced that she is running a write-in campaign? Personally, I am going to just use straight-up three-way polls (at least for now), and assume there is a 100% chance Murkowski will caucus with Republicans if she wins (she was in the GOP leadership, after all). However, Mark Blumenthal suggests two other ways polling firms could conduct polls in Alaska now, suggestions which I hope polling firms heed:

1. A totally open-ended question that offers no candidate names and instead tests the ability of respondents to remember the name of the candidate they're voting for.

2. A closed-ended question that closely mimics the ballot, asking voters to choose between Republican Joe Miller, Democrat Scott McAdams and "another candidate" (perhaps the choice to "write in another candidate"). Live interviewers could then probe for and record the name of the "other" candidate.

The second option sounds the most intriguing, since it mimics the difficulty that voters will have in writing-in Murkowski’s name. I’d love to see a public survey conducted in that manner, although it is unfortunately beyond the capabilities of an IVR survey (Rasmussen, PPP, Survey USA, and more).

Notes
--This is a snapshot, not a forecast. All of the odds presented here are based on if the election were held today. It is not a prediction of future trends.

--Only campaigns within 11% or less in the snapshot that includes Rasmussen polling are listed. If a campaign isn't listed here, then it is not currently as close as any of the campaigns listed here. Delaware, is listed because of all the hoopla surrounding it.

--Lisa Murkowski’s odds of victory are included in the overall GOP total. Charlie Crist’s odds are split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

--All polls used in the averages are taken from Pollster.com.

--A complete description of the methodology behind this snapshot, along with all the research and a FAQ, can be found here.

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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 05:46 PM PDT.

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