Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CRPD: New Poll Suggests Those Concerned About Disability Issues Could Affect Outcome in Tight Elections

A non-partisan group,, 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 --

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.

Thank you.
Common Grounder

Monday, September 29, 2014

The CRPD and the Kansas Senate Race

Guess what? According to the Washington Post in Kansas Greg Orman, the Independent candidate running against Republican Senator Pat Roberts, has raised Roberts’ vote (against) on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and his treatment of Senator Bob Dole. Orman said, “…he [Roberts] voted against a U.N. treaty banning discrimination against people with disabilities, despite Dole’s personal plea. He threw Bob Dole under the bus on the U.N. treaty on disabilities….”

The Rasmussen Reports poll (September 19thhas Orman five points ahead of Roberts. Chad Taylor, the Democrat candidate, dropped out of the Senate race. The Roberts-Orman match up is being closely watched because of the question of who will control the Senate, come January 2015. Orman, who has said he will caucus with the majority in the Senate if elected, could be in a powerful position. If control of the Senate comes down to one member, that is. The Republicans need a gain of six seats, or five plus Orman. Democrats, over all have been gaining strength in the last week (see, so who controls the Senate in 2015-2016 could come down to a nail-biting end.

This means the CRPD has made it into political prime time. We didn’t bring it up, a candidate did, and it made it into a front-page story in the Washington Post. We need to see more press/media coverage. We need to play a role in making that happen. If Orman saw the value in mentioning Robert’s position on the CRPD, other candidates in other Senate races may see the value too. That is, if we bring it to their attention at candidate forums and town hall meetings, as well as through their press offices.

Four things to remember: First, we have leverage now that we won’t have after the elections on November 4th. Second, the CRPD is not a trivial, single topic issue – it is about how millions of people with disabilities, their families, and advocates are viewed and treated by society. Third, the U.S. standing with regard to credibility on human rights is precarious, and needs a push in the right direction. Fourth, in order to build momentum, we need to go public about what we do and learn by using social media (i.e., Twitter, #CRPD).

Please choose to be politically active right now and urge all Senators and candidates to state their position on the CRPD and to urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to hold a vote on the CRPD.

Thank you.
Common Grounder

Sunday, September 28, 2014

CRPD: What Is at Stake?

Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) may be considered by the Senate when it returns November 12th after the mid-term elections. However, it will only happen if we get moving.

Win or lose the same group of Senators will return to Washington, D.C. for a session that will include a break for Thanksgiving and then end sometime in December before Christmas. If a vote does not occur on the CRPD during that time, then it will not be taken up again unless the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee elects to hold hearings, draft a resolution, and successfully gets it voted out of Committee in 2015-2016. Basically, it's a case of starting from scratch for the third time.

The current Chairman, Robert Menendez (D, NJ), if he remains Chairman, may not be thrilled about bringing the CRPD up again because Senator Tom Harkin (D, IA), the man who has done much of the pushing since the spring of 2014, will have retired, and won't be around to help. For Senator Menendez there will be many priorities. The CRPD may not be one of them. Then, there's also the possibility that Republicans will take control of the Senate. They need six more seats. The polls are showing their prospects are good (see That would mean most likely that Senator Bob Corker (R,TN) would become Chairman of the Committee. He opposes ratification of the CRPD. So in all likelihood no action of any kind would happen on the CRPD in 2015-2016.

I offer this background to point out a stark fact -- Senators of both parties need to hear from us now while they are home/before the elections while we have some leverage. What leverage, you say? Democrats are worried about voter turn out in tight races. Republicans are delicately shifting to the center to pick up independent votes in tight races. We can influence voter turn out. We can affect which way independents turn. BUT ONLY IF WE BECOME A VOCAL VOICE IN SUPPORT OF THE CRPD at candidate forums and Senators' town hall meetings. By asking where EVERY Senator stands on the CRPD, and if they are for it, asking if they will ask Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) for a floor vote before Christmas, we can get the CRPD to a vote before Christmas.

Of course such actions/questions will have much more traction and build momentum if we report what we learn on social media and inspire others to do the same. It would be as simple as saying "Senator X supports #CRPD and will ask Senator Reid for a vote" on Twitter.

If you want a full picture of what Senate seats are safe, sort of safe, at risk of being changed, sort of at risk of being changed, or toss ups see the Real Clear Politics map --

I sure hope everyone goes into high gear, goes to events, and starts reporting what they learn on Twitter. We have five weeks to demonstrate our leverage, so let's do so with gusto. Ok?

Thank you.
Common Grounder