Republicans set for 'big gains'
Opposition poised to win House of Representatives and gain in senate in midterm elections, Reuters/Ipsos poll shows.
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2010 00:39 GMT

The poll found that 51 per cent of Americans disapprove of the way Obama is doing his job [AFP]

Republicans are poised to take control of the US House of Representatives in the US midterm elections, a Reuters/Ipsos poll has shown.

Fifty per cent of likely voters said they will choose a Republican candidate when they vote on Tuesday, while 44 per cent said they will pick a Democrat, the national survey published on Monday found.

Republicans are likely to win some 231 seats in the House and take control of the chamber, the poll projected.

Ipsos pollster, Cliff Young, predicted Democrats would keep control of the senate with either a margin of 52 seats to 48 for Republicans or 53-47.

The election result, if it plays out the way the pollsters say it will, would mark a stark reversal of fortunes for Barack Obama, who has enjoyed one-party rule in Washington since becoming president nearly two years ago.

Tough political battles seemed to loom ahead over taxes, spending and deficits when a new congress takes power in January. And Republicans might seek to repeal parts of Obama's signature achievement, his healthcare overhaul.

There was some talk among Democrats of a mid-course correction by Obama.

"He has a good sense of perspective about the challenge of midterm elections and about the need going forward to make some adjustments and corrections. And you'll see those play out over the course of the next few weeks," Tim Kaine, the Democratic National Committee chairman, told ABC's Good Morning America. 

Wrong track

Americans are reeling from a 9.6 per cent jobless rate want to see the economy on the mend. By a margin of 62 per cent to 33 per cent, they believe the country is on the wrong track and 47 per cent cited the economy as the biggest problem facing the US today.

The poll said 50 per cent of those polls believed the Obama administration has made the economy worse than it was before, while 26 per cent said he has made it better.

The economic woes are taking their toll on Obama, who says his policies need more time to work and that Republicans would take America back to economic policies he believes are discredited.

The poll found that 45 per cent of Americans approved of the way Obama is doing his job, versus 51 per cent who said they disapprove.

Fifty-two per cent of those surveyed did not think Obama will win re-election in 2012, the poll found. This included 34 per cent of Democrats and 75 per cent of Republicans.

On Tuesday voters will choose 435 members of the House and 37 members of the 100-seat senate. Democrats currently hold significant majorities in both chambers.

Political hands

In the House, where all the seats are up for grabs, at least 65 - most held by Democrats - are at risk of changing political hands.

Republicans need 39 seats to win back control. In the senate, Republicans have a tougher hill to climb. There they need to net 10 of the 37 seats up for grabs.

In a final campaign push on Monday, Obama gave radio interviews to several syndicated radio programmes, mostly for broadcast on election day, and planned to make calls to Democratic volunteers and activists in Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Hawaii, Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said.

The poll of 1,075 adults, including 893 registered voters and 654 who said they are likely to vote, was conducted October 28-31. It has a margin of error of three percentage points for all adults, 3.3 per cent for registered voters and 3.8 per cent for likely voters.

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