Another day brings another seemingly apocalyptic set of Senate polls. Over the last 24 hours, they came from New York, where three new surveys showed Democratic nominee Kirsten Gillibrand leading by 26, 6 and 1.

Insert expletive here.

However, despite those polls, and despite the polls earlier this week from Wisconsin and West Virginia, the Snapshot remains virtually unchanged. The most likely outcome is still 52 seats for Democrats, and the chances of Republicans winning control of the chamber hover around 1%.

Senate Snapshot, September 23rd

If there is a analytical lesson to take from the widely varying poll results this week, it is that the electoral environment is very difficult to pin down right now. There is no clear consensus among pollsters, even among pollsters looking at likely voters, about who will turn out this year and who will not. Mark Blumenthal:

It is important to remember that few likely voter screens are created equal, as different pollsters often use very different methods to model or screen for what they all describe as "likely voters." And worse, only a handful of pollsters disclose the details of their process.

Further, the activist lesson to take from the past ten days, which featured wild movement in several campaigns (Delaware, Wisconsin, New York, West Virginia) is that we need to GOTV everywhere. A focus on only a handful of seats won’t fit the bill in such an unpredictable environment.

A plurality of Americans want Democrats to control Congress, even if a plurality of likely voters appear to favor Republicans. The more we make the electorate look like America as a whole, the higher Democratic chances of victory become. That is our task over the next forty days.

--Polling is not a conspiracy designed to manipulate your emotions.

--Polling averages don’t suck. They are quite accurate.

Actual 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 14% are listed. If a campaign isn't listed here, then it is not currently as close as any of the campaigns listed here.

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

--With few exceptions, 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.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 05:16 PM PDT.

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