Media Availability: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Founder and President, Laszlo Strategies
Are Republicans Doomed to Fail Again? Politics and policies for people with disabilities absent from Rubio, Paul and others at CPAC gathering
- According to the US Census, 1 in 5 Americans has a disability
- By 41%-1% Margin American Voters More Likely to Vote for Candidate Committed to Those with Disabilities
- 51% of likely voters say they, a family member, or a close friend has a disability
Washington, DC. While Republicans such as Sen. John McCain, Sen. Mark Kirk and former Senator Bob Dole have disabilities, and Rep. Pete Sessions, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, former Governor Sarah Palin, former Sen. Rick Santorum and others have children with disabilities, Republican grassroots activists and speakers at CPAC seem to have forgotten this large demographic group and the proud Republican history with enabling this group to achieve the American dream. Indeed, as CPAC speakers and activists look towards the future, they are doing it by looking at a rear-view mirror of one election alone. Their big names speakers at CPAC today included Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rand Paul, who did not even mention disability issues. A CPAC session on inclusion touches on Hispanics, Asians and African Americans, but not people with disabilities. At CPAC pollster/commentator Dick Morris went through a list of demographics that he stated are important to Republicans. That list did not include people with disabilities either. However, more Americans have a disability than are African American, Hispanic, Asian or gay, and polling shows it is a swing voter group.
According to the U.S. Census 1/5th of Americans have a disability. Additionally, according to a poll conducted by Stan Greenberg/GQRR and Laszlo Strategies of 1000 likely voters, fully 51 percent report having a family member or close friend with a disability. Fifty-two percent of Democrats report that they or a loved one has a disability and for Republicans a smaller number of 44 percent who report they have a disability. Surprisingly, Independents have the largest number of voters who say they have disabilities, with 58 percent saying yes. This shows that swing voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs.
Among likely voters, 41 percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is committed to making policies and programs to help those with disabilities a national priority. Just two percent say it should not be a national priority. The numbers do however demonstrate a significant partisan divide, Democrats, 52-1 and Republicans, 27-5.
During President Obama's first term in office, unemployment for Americans with disabilities skyrocketed. The number of people collecting federal disability insurance has increased by 1,385,418 to a record 8,827,795 meaning a larger strain to the Federal coffers and more people with disabilities living in poverty.
America’s most important civil rights legislation for people with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), was introduced during the Reagan Administration and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. However, since the ADA was passed more than two decades ago, the percentage of people with disabilities in the workforce has not improved by even 1 percent. Approximately 70 percent of working-age adults with disabilities are now unemployed. Moreover, while Democrats have attacked Republicans regarding potential cuts to disability benefits, little has been offered by either party to help by providing a hand up, and not just a “hand out”. The majority of working age voters with disabilities want to work and be independent.
Among likely voters overall, 41 percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is committed to making policies and programs to help those with disabilities a national priority. Just two percent say it should not be a national priority. The numbers do however demonstrate a significant partisan divide, Democrats, 52-1 and Republicans, 27-5.
There is a similar partisan divide when respondents are asked, “Thinking about the current policies and programs the US government has to help people with disabilities, how much is the government doing to help those with disabilities lead a normal life? Is the government doing more than enough, doing enough, not doing enough, or not doing anywhere near enough to help those with disabilities lead a normal life?” While 46 percent of voters respond the government is doing enough, 44 percent not enough, nearly 10 percent more Democrats (54 percent) believe the government is not doing enough. Only 33 percent of Republicans feel the same.
Said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder & president of Laszlo Strategies, “The majority of likely American voters are experiencing the challenges of living with a disability, either because they have a disability or have a loved one who does. It impacts voting, and elected officials and candidates need to pay attention. It is surprising to see a major convention that is focuses on winning future elections completely fail to address any of the concerns of this large number of voters. There are a huge number of issues that impact people with disabilities which resonate with Republican primary voters, but aren’t even on their radar screens. For example, approximately 90% of American women who find out they are carrying a child with Down Syndrome chooses to abort. People with disabilities can fall victim to others who push them into “assisted suicide”/euthanasia. At times people with disabilities are denied access to needed organ transplants due to prejudicial feels that their lives are less worthy than those of people without disabilities. Additionally, many parents of children with disabilities, who often face large medical and other costs, want vouchers so that their children can attend private schools with additional supports for children with disabilities.”