"Neither side knows after 2012 whether they're going to be in the majority or the minority," said Ross Baker, professor of political science at Rutgers University. "How much of a stick do the Democrats want to stick in the Republicans' eyes?"
Republicans point to the advice of outgoing Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who said in his farewell speech after five terms that he understood the "temptation" to change the filibuster rules.
"But whether such a temptation is motivated by a noble desire to speed up the legislative process or by pure political expedience, I believe such changes would be unwise," Dodd said in late November.
Baker agreed, suggesting the 60-vote threshold creates a demand for legislation more palatable to the American people.
"On really, really important things, you really do want a consensus," he said.