By Justin Sink
President Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday night that he thinks the Democrats can hold the Senate.
The president told CBS's “60 Minutes” that he will spend the next six weeks campaigning on his economic record.
“Ronald Reagan used to ask the question, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ In this case, are you better off than you were in six?’ ” Obama asked.
It could be a difficult case for the president to make in the final weeks before Election Day.
Despite months of jobs and stock market growth, the president’s approval ratings on the economy remain stubbornly low.
In a CBS News/New York Times poll released earlier this month, a majority of Americans, 53 percent, disapproved of Obama’s handling of the economy. Asked to describe the state of the economy, 35 percent of respondents described conditions as “fairly bad,” and another 20 percent said things were “very bad.” Just 26 percent of Americans say the economy is getting better.
Obama acknowledged the problem, saying Americans “don’t feel” the economic recovery.
“The reason they don't feel it is because incomes and wages are not going up,” he said.
But the president said he believes he can convince people that the economy is improving under his watch and that wage stagnation and other economic drags can be addressed through a Democratic policy platform.
“Hopefully, they get a chance to hear the argument, because all I'm doing is presenting the facts,” Obama said.
Republicans are the clear favorites to take three Democratic-held seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia, where the incumbents are not running for reelection. Polling indicates that GOP candidates are the favorites to unseat Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) as well.
If that holds, Republicans would need only to win one of a series of toss-up contests in Alaska, Colorado, Iowa or North Carolina — while protecting their seats in Kansas, Kentucky and Georgia — to take the majority.
Polling forecaster FiveThirtyEight projects Republicans with a 60 percent chance of winning the majority, while Democrats have a 4 in 10 chance of holding on to control of the upper chamber.
The White House has not said whether the president would attempt to help vulnerable Democrats in any of the most competitive Senate races, although he is widely seen as a liability in most those contests, and it is assumed he will stay away. But Obama will spend some time on the campaign trail, including a trip to his hometown of Chicago later this week.