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Poll Says D.C. Doesn't "Get" New Hampshire G.O.P.

November 11, 2011

CONCORD, N.H. - Many politicians in D.C are out of touch with what Republican voters want in New Hampshire. That's according to a recent poll of 400 likely Republican primary voters in the Granite State. While the "Super Committee" is mulling over ideas to cut about a trillion dollars from the budget, the majority of conservatives say, "Hands off Social Security and Medicare."

Kelly Clark is the state director for AARP, the group that released the poll, and she says the results include a wide swath of conservatives who support every Republican presidential candidate.

"And it may challenge the conventional wisdom a little bit, but it does point out that individuals have paid in and earned these benefits and they are critical to them. And in fact, here in New Hampshire, one in five over the age of 65 relies on Social Security for 90 percent of their income."

Clark adds that about 178,000 people are enrolled in Medicare in New Hampshire.

Strong majorities of very conservative GOP voters, including those who identify with the "Tea Party," opposed cuts to these programs. Almost half of New Hampshire Republican voters are retired.

The poll was conducted last month, and when asked which candidate respondents would vote for if the primary were held that day, the top three candidates were Mitt Romney, then Herman Cain, and Ron Paul in third place.

Clark says a new on-line video voter's guide will be available beginning November 13, which will feature unedited interviews with the candidates.

"On topics important to older voters, including things like jobs and the economy, retirement security, Social Security and Medicare. And then the video will actually be mailed to Republican voters in our state."

The voter's guide will feature candidates who registered at 5 percent or higher in national polls, including: Michele Bachman, Newt Gingrich, Congressman Ron Paul and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Herman Cain and Mitt Romney declined repeated invitations to be interviewed.

More information about the video voter's guide and the poll are at: www.aarp.org.

The poll was conducted by GS Strategy Group of 400 likely Republican primary voters, October 17-18, 2011.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH