(TND) — The public isn't optimistic that much will get done during the next two years in Washington, according to a new survey.
And politics professor Seth McKee is on the same page with voters, saying he expects the next couple of years to be about “gridlock and jockeying for the presidency.”
“It just feels like we’re already in the presidential cycle,” said McKee, of Oklahoma State University.
“I feel like this entire Congress is just going to be a lame-duck session,” he added.
The Pew Research Center has new survey results showing 65% don’t believe President Joe Biden will be successful in getting his priorities turned into laws. And Republican leaders in Congress didn’t fare much better in the poll, with 61% expecting their legislative efforts to also be futile.
The Pew Research Center said these expectations for gridlock were also felt after the last midterm election.
McKee said this has become a pattern: The president’s party loses seats and possibly the majority in the midterms, making their next two years comparatively less productive.
This time is no different, with Republicans taking a slim majority in the House and Democrats holding on, barely, to the Senate.
The splintered Congress is further complicated by competing factions within the parties and Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s tight bid to become House speaker.
McKee said even if Republicans can set a cohesive legislative agenda, it’s “basically dead on arrival” because Senate Democrats will either block it or Biden will veto it.
“The priorities of a majority Republican House, and a slight majority Democratic Senate, what on earth are they going to come to an agreement on? Especially when we don’t even know how McCarthy’s going to pull off the magic trick and be speaker,” McKee said. “So, oh it’s just going to be an absolute mess.”
The Pew Research Center found slightly more Democrats (48%) expect their side to be successful in enacting an agenda in the next couple of years than Republicans (44%) expect success from their side.
Democrats are also a little more optimistic about the future of their party (72%) compared to Republicans expressing optimism about the future of the GOP (65%).
The Pew Research Center found voters from both parties are less optimistic now than they have been in recent years.
Just 24% of those surveyed said they are satisfied with the state of the country. More Democrats than Republicans expressed satisfaction – 38% for Democrats compared to 11% for Republicans.
McKee said his sense coming out of the midterms is that voters were less turned off by partisan bickering than they were about candidate quality.
Though McKee also said, “We are historically polarized.”
The Pew Research Center found 54% think party relations will stay about the same, and 38% say relations will get worse in the next year.
The “fever did break” in terms of former President Donald Trump’s sway over the Republican party when his midterm candidates largely flopped, McKee said.
Trump has already announced another run for the White House, but McKee doesn’t think he’ll win.
A defeat in 2024 – either in the primaries or general election – would signal a shift past the Trump era, and there’s hope some of the gridlock in Washington could begin to break down, McKee said.