congress1The Democrats’ chances of retaining control of the House of Representatives are slipping away. Our latest Reuters/Ipsos poll suggests that Republicans are poised to win around 227 seats and Democrats about 208 seats in next month’s election. Unemployment is top of the agenda for voters, and there is no good news coming on that front between now and November 2 (the next reading on the jobless rate doesn’t even come until the Friday after the election). That means there is very little chance that Democrats can pull off a late surge.

Also slipping away is President Barack Obama’s approval rating, to a new low in our poll, with much of the decline coming from his own Democratic supporters. His handling of the economy remains a leading cause of the drop. Again, any hope of energizing the Democratic base now looks slim.

More interesting is the race for control of the Senate. Ipsos says the poll numbers suggest Democrats will win 52 seats to 48 seats for the Republicans, the same margin predicted by the poll of polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. But a number of races are still very close.

Here are our top stories from Washington today…

Republicans likely to take House at election

American voters unhappy at high unemployment are set to oust Democrats from control of the House of Representatives in November, a Reuters-Ipsos poll projected. The national poll found that Americans plan to vote for Republicans over Democratic candidates by 48 percent to 44 percent, an edge that will likely give Republicans around 227 seats in the House to 208 for the Democrats.

For more of this story by Steve Holland, read here.

For a graphic showing the poll results, click here.

For a factbox on Senate poll averages from Real Clear Politics, click here.

States probe mortgage industry practices

All 50 U.S. states launched a joint investigation of the mortgage industry, a move some experts fear may slow sales of foreclosed homes and threaten the recovery of the fragile housing market. The state attorneys general are looking at allegations some banks did not properly review files or submitted false statements to evict delinquent borrowers from their homes during a foreclosure crisis that is one of the most visible wounds of the recession.