Top Disability Issues

#CripTheVote with logo of a ballot box with 4 blue and white disability symbols on the front

Here is another look at preliminary results of the #CripTheVote Disability Issues Survey, with data updated for today, March 12, 2016. I’ll go through each question, show the chart of results, and add some notes to think about.

So far, the survey has 306 respondents. It will stay open until April 30, 2016, so if you haven’t voted yet, you still can, and I, along with my #CripTheVote partners Alice Wong and Gregg Beratan, will post updates as more votes come in.

Click here to go to the survey
Click here for a text-only version of the survey

It’s probably also important to note that this is not a scientific, professionally designed or administered survey, so the results are at least somewhat skewed towards disabled people already fairly tuned in to disability issues and advocacy … and of course, limited to people using the Internet.

Click here if you prefer to see the survey results in text-only format

We will continue to refer to these survey results in future #CripTheVote chats and events.

Question 1: Please rank the following disability policy areas in priority order, from 1 = highest priority, to 10 = lowest priority. You can only assign one unique priority number to each topic.

I’m not sure now how useful this question is. We wanted to divide the universe of disability issues into 10 broad categories and get some idea of which ones are most to least important. One thing to remember is that they all matter, even the ones with the lowest priority. And every category was ranked “most important” by someone.

One reason why Health Care and Civil Rights / Discrimination sit at the top of the priority list may be that both are factors that relate to all other disability issues, while the others are just a bit more specialized.

Question 2: The following area disability policy ideas that emerged out of the first two #CripTheVote Twitter chats. Please choose 5 out of the following 15 disability policy ideas you feel are most important.

For this question, we got more specific, asking respondents to choose just 5 out of 15 real or hypothetical ideas for policy change. Again, we aren’t suggesting that ideas with fewer votes are no good or unnecessary. The survey results simply suggest which specific initiatives we would most like to see candidates embrace … and ideas we think have a fair chance of being approved and implemented.

There are two big surprises for me in these results. First, I am surprised and impressed that hiring and appointing more disabled people to policy making positions got the most votes, and by a fairly large margin. One could argue that improvement in just this one measure can result in improvements to all areas of disability policy. Second, I am sort of astonished that getting rid of sub-minimum wage got so many votes, while getting rid of sheltered workshops got so few. Not that these are contradictory results, just that these two advocacy goals are usually talked about together. Does this reflect a true difference in priority, or rather some confusion over what each of the two issues mean.

Question 3: If you have any specific disability policy ideas you don't see on this survey, write them here!

We will do another post soon summarizing and discussing the over 100 unique comments and ideas respondents added.

Question 4: What best describes your interest in disability?

We wanted to make sure we could keep track of whose opinions we are seeing. What you see here is that a hefty majority of respondents have disabilities themselves, while we also have some perspective from families and professionals.

The best result of all is that these results suggest some meaningful and feasible directions that candidates could take in developing their own disability agendas. There’s nothing “official” about this survey, and several other disability organizations have their own agendas that are great and probably better researched than ours. But I think our survey offers some valuable insights and specifics, both for disabled voters to think about and candidates for office to embrace.

After our initial posting of the survey, we added a text-only version, thanks to some requests to make the survey more accessible. It’s a lesson we will act on going forward. And we welcome feedback of all kinds on this project. Please share any thoughts you have on the survey and its results. You can leave them in the comments section below.