With prognosticators hardening their positions about Republicans taking control of the House, the latest analytical tack you'll see pundits take is to say that the White House is probably better off in the long term with Republicans owning part of the government in the short term.
Would losing the House be better than keeping it? Perceptions about the economy and Obama's inability to fix it are coloring everything else and are a very heavy weight on the scale. So if you think that losing the House somehow stabilizes the economy, then maybe.
The counter-argument is that the only real detriment to losing the House would be the subpoena power that Rep. Darrell Issa and other Republicans get. But investigations cut both ways, and Republican leaders may have less of an appetite for them if they become politically damaging to the party that instigates them. The White House, incidentally, has elaborate contingency plans for such an eventuality.
If the economy stabilizes toward the end of 2011 ... at the very least, even if it's a double dip recession, 2011-2012 will be the beginning of one of the legs of the upward part of the "W." The money from the stimulus that actually will stimulate the economy is on the sidelines, authorized and ready to go. Perceptions about Obama's leadership, rather than the actual economy -- though they go hand in hand -- will be the most important factor in his re-election.