Liberals have been citing public polling on gun laws at every opportunity. But when it comes to the debt, spending and the budget, they want to ignore the public’s views. There is a good reason for that.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press) House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

Public Notice, a nonpartisan group concerned with fiscal issues, is out with a new poll conducted by the Tarrance Group. It confirms that the economy remains the top concern for voters, not the other issues that are on the Beltway agenda. (“Economic issues drive the concerns of voters — 29% say the economy/jobs is most important, while 20% say the top issue is government spending and the federal deficit. Farther down the list are things like health care costs (10%), education (9%), and gun control (8%).”) Moreover, voters don’t agree with liberals that the problem is insufficient revenue:

A majority of Republicans (86%) and Independents (65%), and a plurality of Democrats (47%), say cutting spending would do more for the economy than increasing spending. The trend is similar on taxes, with 83% of Republicans, 59% of Independents, and a plurality of Democrats (45%) saying cutting taxes would do more for the economy than raising taxes.

Voters also express support for a balanced budget, as 70% say it would help the nation’s economy, while just 8% believe it would hurt the economy and 16% believe it would have no impact. Also, when told that one aspect of President Obama’s budget is that it does not balance at any point, 67% of voters (including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents) say that they oppose this part of his budget (just 24% favor). . . .

Voters believe revenue from the new taxes in President Obama’s budget would, if put into effect, be used to fund new government spending (54%) instead of pay down the debt (33%).

This suggests that when you don’t identify conservatives’ position as “Republican” (a toxic brand) voters actually agree with their approach on the merits.

This also should alert Republicans that now and in 2014 they will need to do a better job explaining what each side wants to do. The president and Senate Democrats like to talk “balance” (Who could be against that?!), but Republicans are actually in tune with public sentiment that we have a spending problem. The Public Notice poll is generally in agreement with other polling showing voters want government to do fewer things and spend less rather than doing more things with more spending. Republicans (post-fiscal cliff) can rightly claim they aren’t protecting the “rich,” but are looking to reduce spending so the economy can grow. If that message can penetrate, then the GOP should be in good shape in 2014.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.