February 28, 2018
Fully 63% of American voters are in the extended disability community — people who have disabilities; or have a family member with a disability, a close friend with a disability, work on behalf of people with disabilities, or volunteer for disability causes—based on findings of a national phone poll of registered voters released on February 13 by Respect Ability.
The research—conducted on behalf of the advocacy organization by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Research among 1,000 Americans—found that 17% of U.S. voters are members of the extended disability community and that they are fully 9% more likely to be “extremely interested” in voting in 2018 than those who are outside the extended disability community.
While there are key issues on which the majority of the disability community aligns with Democrats, such as support for the ACA and opposition to the new tax cuts, they are varied and dynamic in their political affiliation. Majorities in the extended disability community and outside of it agree almost uniformly that the country is on the “wrong track” (55% and 56%, respectively).
However,there has been a significant shift in voting patterns of this swing demographic over the past four years. In 2014, a 55% majority of voters with disabilities or a disability connection voted for Republican candidates for congress while in 2018, only 39% plan to vote for the Republican candidate. This shift is even greater than the 17-point shift toward Democrats among voters who are not in the disability community.
Importantly, these voters with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed and looking for work. Fully 54% of voters without disabilities are employed full-time; compared to only 22% of their counterparts with disabilities. Only 4% of voters with disabilities who are unemployed are not in the market for work.
Only one-in-three working-age Americans with a disability has a job, despite the fact that studies show that 70% of the 21-million working-age people with disabilities are striving for work. More than 78% of non-disabled Americans are employed.
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