[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/11/01/senate.at.stake/story.reid.gi.jpg caption="Senate-watchers are pondering what will happen if Majority Leader Harry Reid loses his seat in Tuesday's election." width=300 height=169]
CNN Congressional Producer
Editor's note: Ted Barrett has covered Congress for CNN for 11 years.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats learned this year how difficult it was to pass bills over a determined GOP minority. Now they are bracing for possible legislative gridlock as Republicans are poised to pick up several seats in Tuesday's election.
Any expectations that a more evenly divided Senate might actually lead to cooperation and compromise could be unrealistic. The animosity and distrust between the two parties is already thick, and likely to get worse as the 2012 presidential campaign gets under way.
President Obama regularly talks about bringing the sides together - doing so might allow him to hash out deals this year on energy, education, trade and the debt - but Republicans are highly skeptical he will make compromises. "He will go into campaign mode and try to make us look evil," a senior GOP leadership aide predicted, echoing the broad sentiment of Republicans on the Hill.
Democrats are equally doubtful that Republicans will want to work with them. For starters, they think newly elected Tea Party-backed senators, who have promised to curb Washington's influence, will press Republican leaders not to cut deals.
"Many Republicans appear to be opposed to the very idea of coming here to legislate," said a top Senate Democratic leadership aide.
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