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Likely GOP Primary Voters Speak Out

Many politicians in Washington are out of touch with Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, according to a poll of 400 likely Republican primary voters that was released in mid-November.

See Also: Voter Education Guide to the 2012 Election

The poll showed that likely Republican voters in the New Hampshire primary overwhelmingly oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits to reduce the country’s deficit. That’s by a margin of about 3 to 1.

AARP’s GOP New Hampshire Primary Survey highlights the major disconnect between Washington and Republican voters in New Hampshire who will be critical in determining the next Republican Presidential nominee. While Washington talks about cutting Medicare and Social Security to meet budget targets, voters say they oppose cuts to the benefits they earned and need.

“Strong majorities of supporters for every Republican presidential candidate oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits,” said AARP New Hampshire State Director Kelly Clark.

“Even very conservative voters and voters who agree with the Tea Party oppose cuts to these programs,” continued Clark. “The message these voters are sending is clear: Do not cut the Social Security and Medicare benefits we’ve earned.” Social Security pumps over $272 million into New Hampshire’s economy each month and nearly 99.7 percent of New Hampshire seniors are enrolled in Medicare.

The survey interviewed 400 likely Republican primary voters (age 18+) in New Hampshire with the mean age of 63. Conducted by GS Strategy Group with funding from AARP, the research has a 4.90% margin of error.

Major findings of the New Hampshire poll include:

  • About seven out of ten likely GOP primary voters oppose cuts to Social Security (69.8%) and Medicare (72.5%).
  • Nearly nine in ten – 89.5% – of voters said that Social Security benefits will be important to their monthly income in retirement and nearly all – 91.8% – say that the strength and solvency of Medicare is essential to seniors’ health care security in retirement.
  • Even strong majorities of very conservative GOP voters and voters who agree with the Tea Party oppose cuts to these programs.
  • As church attendance increases, so does opposition to cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits.
  • When asked about their Medicare and Social Security benefits, GOP primary voters believe they’ve “paid into it their entire life,” and “need it.” They know there are other, less critical areas of government spending that can be cut instead.

By wide margins, New Hampshire’s GOP primary voters prefer eliminating tax loopholes and reducing US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as an alternative to cutting either Social Security or Medicare. Only 1% preferred cutting Medicare and 0.8% preferred cutting Social Security.

Research was also conducted in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida with findings consistent across all states.

“These surveys are part of AARP’s 25-year history of providing non-partisan voter education and engagement information to AARP members, the candidates, elected officials, the media, and all Americans,” concluded Clark.

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