Do their numbers support that claim? I guess it depends on how you define "edge." To my untrained eye, Republicans appear to have a three-point edge among all adults (a far more Democrat-friendly sample pool than registered or likely voters), and a four point lead among independents. Am I missing something?
Senate Democrats have balked at the $61 Billion in "deep" cuts within the 2011 Continuing Resolution passed by the House last week. In fact, Harry Reid's two-week bandaid fix offers precisely zero cuts. Today, Senate Democrats are exhibiting their reasonable side by deigning to consider a compromise that may allow for a few puny cuts after all:
Senate Democrats are reviewing possible spending cuts in drafting a seven-month bill to keep the government in operation after existing funding expires on March 4, officials said Thursday, the first time they have demonstrated a willingness to embrace immediate reductions.
These Democratic officials said about $8.5 billion remaining from previously approved congressional earmarks may be reduced or eliminated, and Democratic aides also are reviewing President Barack Obama's proposed program cuts and terminations for 2012 to see whether any should take effect immediately.
Hold the phone -- Reid & Co. might be able to identify 8.5 Billion whole dollars to cut this year? Why, these Democrats truly are fiscal conservatives after all. Um, has anyone reminded them that the budget deficit for this year alone is over $1.5 Trillion? Reid's spokesman has called the House GOP plan "extreme" and "reckless." According to today's Gallup numbers, a plurality of Americans want the final package of cuts to be even more "recklessly extreme:"
Fully 62 percent of adults say GOP budget-slashing measures are either "about right" or "do not go far enough." Only 25 percent -- essentially, the Democrat base -- say Republican cuts "go too far."
If the federal government shuts down after March 4th, it will be because Senate Democrats refuse to accept the will of the American people. Republicans have passed a CR featuring very modest cuts (too modest, according to nearly 4 in 10 Americans) to stave off a government shutdown. If Democrats cannot stomach a measure that shaves $61 Billion from a $1.5 Trillion deficit (roughly four percent), that does not bode well for the upcoming rumble over President Obama's genuinely reckless 2012 proposed budget.
UPDATE: The "draconian" GOP cuts, illustrated (via Erika Johnsen):