A non-partisan group, respectabilityusa.com, contracted two polling firms, one Democrat (Greenberg Quilan Rosner Research) and one Republican (North Star Opinion Research) to survey 1,000 likely 2014 voters about disability issues. The survey was conducted from September 20-24, 2014 in states considered “Senate battleground states” – Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and West Virginia. If you want to see the results of the full survey on disability issues go to this link -- http://respectabilityusa.com/Resources/Disability%20Issues%20for%20Voters%20in%20the%20Senate%20Battleground.pdf.
Thirty-one percent said “yes” to the question “Do you, a family member, or a close friend have a disability?” Wow, that’s almost 1/3 of the 1,000 surveyed. Here’s another interesting result. When those surveyed were divided into two groups – under 50 years of age and over 50 years of age and asked -- “Do you, a family member, or close friend have a disability,” the percentage was 60 percent for those under 50 and 55 percent for those over 50. When these 1,000 voters were divided politically, 56 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of Independents, and 56 percent of Republicans answered “yes” to the question -- “Do you, a family member, or a close friend have a disability?” So disability is equally represented among all three political persuasions.
The survey question that stood out for me was – “The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, also known as the Disability Treaty, is an international human rights treaty of the United Nations modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act. This Treaty encourages the adoption of laws around the world that promote accessibility, equal opportunities and end abuse and discrimination of people with disabilities. The Treaty will not change existing U.S. law or add additional costs to its budget. Do you favor or oppose the U.S. Senate ratifying this treaty?”
The answers were energizing: 83 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of Independents, and 50 percent of Republicans surveyed favored Senate ratification of the CRPD.
Please share these results far and wide, but especially with Senators and their staff. This poll has meaning. For a Senator in a tight race, it means that paying attention to and being willing to commit to supporting and voting in favor of disability issues, such as ratification of the CRPD, could mean the difference between winning or losing the November election. This poll, perhaps the first of its kind, is nationally representative, has a 95 percent confidence level, and a 3.10 margin of error. Its implications should not be dismissed or ignored by any candidate that wishes to serve in the Senate in January 2015.