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Dem Polling Suggests Bass Is Vulnerable on Medicare

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A day after launching an attack ad against New Hampshire Rep. Charles Bass, two liberal groups have released new polling that suggests the Republican is deeply unpopular just seven months after his election.

If the numbers are correct, the Congressman’s vote in favor of the Medicare overhaul in the House GOP budget could become a political liability next fall.

Just 29 percent of likely voters in New Hampshire’s 2nd district approve of Bass’ job performance, according to a survey conducted May 31 and June 1 by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling on behalf of Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The margin of error for the poll, obtained by Roll Call for an early look, was 4.2 points.

When asked about Medicare, 2nd district voters offered a similar sentiment as those of New York’s 26th district, who gave now-Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) an upset victory in last month’s special election. She won at least in part because her Republican opponent supported Medicare cuts in the House Republican budget plan written by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.).

Sixty percent of New Hampshire respondents said they oppose cutting Medicare. And 69 percent said they support raising federal taxes on those with incomes over $250,000 a year “to save programs like Social Security and Medicare from cuts.”

Even before the new polling was released, it was clear Bass’ re-election effort would be no cakewalk.

He has a long history with New Hampshire voters, having been first elected in 1994 before losing his seat in 2006. His 2010 opponent, Ann McLane Kuster, has already announced her intention to challenge Bass again, having lost by less than 2 points the first time around.

Kuster is a favorite of the national progressive movement. And she has ties to the PCCC, which partnered with the DFA to commission the poll. PCCC spent $25,000 for a broadcast television ad campaign that began running across New Hampshire this week.

The ad features a New Hampshire social worker, who says she voted for Bass several times in the past but now characterizes his vote for the Medicare overhaul as “an attack on New Hampshire families like mine.”

"Medicare is a lifeline for so many people in New Hampshire, and Charlie Bass wants to cut that lifeline. We're holding him accountable," DFA Political Director Charles Chamberlain said in a statement.

Bass spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne largely dismissed the new polling.

“It’s not surprising that a partisan liberal group would sponsor a poll that would show any Republican with low numbers,” he said. “The reality of this issue is that the Democrats want to do nothing and let Medicare go bankrupt.”

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