WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans could win control of the House of Representatives in elections in November, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs acknowledged on Sunday.
“There is no doubt there are enough seats at play that could cause Republicans to gain control, there is no doubt about that,” Gibbs told NBC’s “Meet the Press” talk show when asked whether the Democrats would maintain their majority in the House.
All 435 seats in the House are up for grabs in the November 2 election as well as 36 of the 100 seats in the Senate.
President Barack Obama will have a tougher time pushing his political agenda through Congress if Republicans make big gains in November and wipe out Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House.
In the run-up to the vote, Obama is trying to convince impatient Americans that his economic policies are working and that improvements will take time.
“We understand people are frustrated, everybody is frustrated,” Gibbs said. “Look, the president is frustrated that we haven’t seen greater recovery efforts, but that doesn’t stop us from doing what we know is right, instituting the policies that we know will bring the country back,” he added.
Obama and his fellow Democrats are grappling with a range of problems and many political analysts see the election as a national referendum on his policies.
The economy is struggling and unemployment has hovered at just below 10 percent. The war in Afghanistan is not going well. And the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has prompted criticism that Obama’s response was slow, disorganized and too easy on BP Plc.
A Gallup poll released on July 7 showed that 38 percent of independent voters approve of the job Obama is doing, compared with 81 percent of Democratic voters and only 12 percent of Republicans. Obama’s overall approval rating is 46 percent.
A year ago, Obama’s approval rating among independents was 56 percent.
Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Editing by Sandra Maler