Now that the #CripTheVote Disability Issues Survey has passed the 400 responses mark, it's probably a good time to take another look at the results so far. The last time we looked, we had about 300 responses. It's notable that 100 more responses resulted in fairly little change overall ... with a few exceptions.
Question 1: Disability Policy Areas in priority order: (1 = top priority, 10 = lowest priority)
1. Health Care
2. Civil Rights / Discrimination
4. Employment (Employment and Accessibility traded spots)
7. Long Term Care / Personal Assistance
10. Assistive Technology
Notes on Question 1:
Honestly, this first broad category ranking question is probably not that useful. The categories are so broad that they all seem equally important. However, the top three or four issues do seem to make sense as high priorities for the disability community. It's surprising that Long Term Care / Personal Assistance ranks as low as it does so far. Maybe that's because people don't immediately recognize what the term actually refers to. Also, Accessibility and Employment have swapped their 3rd and 4th place spots since last month, but remain close together
Question 2: Disability Policy Ideas: Respondents asked to choose 5 out of 15 specific ideas. (Percent of respondents who chose each one, in order of popularity, most to least)
1. Hire and appoint more disabled people to government and policy-making positions. 54.14%
2. Pass the Disability Integration Act to promote independent living instead of nursing homes. 49.62% (moved up from 4th place)
3. Require disability awareness training for law enforcement. 48.37%
4. Ban payment of subminimum wage. 47.37% (moved down from 2nd place)
5. Change Social Security to reduce or eliminate work disincentives. 45.11%
6. Defend Social Security and Medicaid / Medicare against political attacks. 44.36% (moved up from 7th place)
7. Strengthen enforcement of accessibility standards. 43.36% (moved down from 6th place)
8. Eliminate use of physical restraint and isolation in public schools. 34.34%
9. Eliminate the Social Security “marriage penalty.” 28.07% (moved up from 10th place)
10. Strengthen voting rights and accessibility. 23.31% (moved down from 9th place)
11. Strengthen the rights of parents with disabilities. 23.31%
12. Review and reform guardianship laws relating to people with disabilities. 16.54%
13. Increase federal share of Special Education costs. 16.29% (moved up from 14th place)
14. Ban or phase out sheltered workshops. 15.04% (moved down from 13th place)
15. Strengthen enforcement of “most integrated setting” regulations in Special Education. 14.54%
Notes on Question 2:
The 2nd and 4th most popular policy positions have both received attention over the last week from Hillary Clinton, and to some extent Bernie Sanders' campaigns. Clinton and Sanders have both come out against payment of subminimum wage, and today Clinton specifically declared her support for passing the Disability Integration Act (DIA). The DIA is pretty consistent with Sanders' general political views, but given how important and fragile access to home care is for so many disabled people, disabled voters are going to need more specifics from him on this issue especially.
In fact, all of the top issues on this list are ripe for any of the remaining Presidential candidates to embrace or at least address with specifics. The top six alone would make a very credible disability policy agenda. Yet, it's remarkable how few of these issues can be found on any of the candidates' websites or in any of their official speeches ... even when they do address disability issues directly. Maybe sharing the results of this survey can suggest ways that candidates can re-calibrate and update their appeal to disabled voters.
Question 3: What best describes your interest in disability?
56% I have a disability
21% I have a disability and disabled person(s) in my family
11% There is a disabled person(s) in my family
6% I work in the disability field
5% Just interested
Notes on Question 3:
The ratios here have remained pretty much the same throughout the life of the survey. It's still mostly disabled people, with a some decent additional representation from families and professionals. It's about what we hoped for.