Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday that he believes he's dealing with a divided group of Senate Democrats, whose fissures are driven by President Obama's low approval numbers.
McConnell, the top Senate Republican, appeared undaunted by the prospect of spending the next two years in the Senate minority.
"The currency of the realm in this town is the president's job approval. If that is below 50 percent, his party tends to fracture," the Kentucky Republican told conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin. "Rumors tell us that is what is going on today."
Indeed, Gallup's daily tracking poll shows Obama at a 45 percent approval rating (47 percent disapprove).
For the GOP leader, that could mean an easier path to victory for his party in 2012, when McConnell has openly said he hopes to see Obama defeated. Senate Democrats also face a tough electoral map that year, with 23 members facing reelection that fall, many in centrist or conservative states.
Those vulnerable Democrats, McConnell said, "may be interested in responding to what the voters were telling us in the election."
Republicans will control 47 seats, and, if enough Democrats join them, they could succeed in sending bills from the GOP-controlled House to Obama's desk for signature or veto.
Despite McConnell's vows to work to defeat the president in two years, though, he said that's no reason the two can't "do business" together.
"We've had regularly scheduled presidential elections every year since 1788, and there is no reason why we can't do business," said the Kentucky Republican. "[I]f the president pivots to the center, as I think he will, there is no reason we can't continue to do business in 2011 and 2012."