Hey Candidates, People with Disabilities Can Help Elect You…Or Not

How much do you know about the voting habits of people with disabilities and their families? Aren’t they mostly Democrat? Surely they don’t really get out to vote much and they can’t really impact the outcome of an election. They don’t really care about the big issues, just things that affect their disability services. Right?Voting

Wrong. United Cerebral Palsy partnered with the HSC Foundation, Youth Transition Collaborative and other leading disability nonprofits to dig into the profiles of Americans with disabilities and their families and to find out how much they participate in our electoral system and why they vote the way they do. The results may be surprising to some and should serve as a wake-up call to candidates who might disregard this large and important group of voters.

First and foremost, there are nearly 58 million Americans who fall under the Census Bureau’s classification of disabled, including people with chronic conditions. The Census Bureau estimates 69% are registered to vote, just a few percentage points shy of the general population. But while overall voter turnout among registered voters in the last Presidential election was only 57%, this group turned out to the tune of 72% – far higher than other demographic groups. And, 61% percent reported that they plan to vote this November. Add to that number immediate family members who may share their political opinions and what have you got?

Not only do they vote in high numbers, they are very passionate about their issues and engaged in the political process. Eighty-four percent say a candidate’s record on strengthening disability supports and services is important to them and they’re willing to reward candidates with good records at the ballot box (85%). They’re also very likely to penalize candidates who have poor records on disability issues – 87% said they would vote “against” a candidate they would otherwise support if that candidate voted for cuts to disability services and support. Younger people with disabilities (18-30) are somewhat more passionate and quicker to punish candidates for non-support.

However, in general, disability-specific issues did not top their list of issues they considered very important. Like the rest of America, the economy and healthcare ranked #1 & #2 on their list of priorities. Disability issues came in further down the list after education, national security, taxes and other topics frequently debated in politics.

Like the rest of America, people with disabilities are politically diverse with 30% Democrat, 25% Republican and 30% Independent. Those party affiliations come very close to the general population which is described as 31% Democrat, 26% Republican and 41% Independent.

Unfortunately, one in five people with disabilities said they faced a significant barrier in voting in the 2012 elections, citing such issues as transportation, confusing ballots and accessibility to voting places.

At the time of this survey, only 21% of this group approved of Congress’ efforts to improve the lives and conditions of people with disabilities. About 41% approved of President Obama’s efforts. And while only 12% said they felt like they were part of a true movement to change the status quo for people with disabilities, another 19% said they wanted to be. Couple with their passion for our political process, their massive numbers and high turnout, they could one day be a deciding factor in some races. The political world would do itself a tremendous favor by taking notice and courting the support of this important, but sometimes invisible, constituency.

Don’t forget to vote November 4! It can make a difference 

This 2014 survey was designed by maslansky + partners, a non-partisan polling and research firm based in New York, Washington, London, and Paris. It was conducted by Research Now, a well-established, U.S.-based non-partisan survey house. Please contact press@ucp.org for more information. 

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY URGES PRESIDENT OBAMA TO MAKE DISABILITY ISSUES A PRIORITY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY URGES PRESIDENT OBAMA TO MAKE DISABILITY ISSUES A PRIORITY

Washington, DC (November 7, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama winning the presidential election.

“We are pleased to have reached the end of this campaign, and congratulate President Obama. While there are many topics to be addressed in the next four years, we urge President Obama to work towards achieving real progress on issues that have an impact on Americans with disabilities. Particularly in critical areas such as accessibility, civil rights, education, Medicaid, employment and health care, there are serious concerns to be addressed— and we urge President Obama to make them a priority,” said Stephen Bennett, former President & CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “There are more than 57 million people in this country living with a disability today. We are a strong, diverse community and we look forward to working with President Obama as we continue our efforts to ensure that people with disabilities can live their lives to the fullest.”

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About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

UCP APPLAUDS NATIONAL FORUM ON DISABILITY ISSUES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UCP APPLAUDS NATIONAL FORUM ON DISABILITY ISSUES

Obama and Romney campaigns send representatives to speak to Americans living with disabilities

 

Washington, DC (September 28, 2012) – More than 500 people attended the only national event for the presidential campaigns on disability issues with more than 1,000 people watching online, reported United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), one of the more than 80 sponsors of the National Forum on Disability Issues, hosted in Columbus, OH today.

The non-partisan forum featured President Barack Obama’s campaign surrogate Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., a disability rights advocate and son of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and former Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign surrogate U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Also participating in the forum on behalf of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was Ohio State Representative Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), and Senator Brown’s opponent, Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Each participant presented the policy positions of the respective campaigns and responded to questions posed by the moderator, Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University. Many of the questions were submitted by the disability community, and focused on employment, health care, long-term care, education, and housing issues.

“United Cerebral Palsy is very excited to be a part of the National Forum on Disability Issues, which has helped engage the presidential campaigns on issues that are critical to the disability community. With more than 57 million Americans living with disabilities today, people with disabilities are not a ‘minority’ constituency but a real and powerful voice in the electoral process,” said Stephen Bennett, former President & CEO of UCP. “While we are disappointed that President Obama and Governor Romney were not able to participate, we applaud all of those who contributed to today’s success and look forward to continuing to work together in advocating for the public policies that ensure fair and full citizenship for people with disabilities.”

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.