More MS news articles for May 2000

Gore Has Early Lead Among Voters With Disabilities

Brewster Thackeray,, writes:


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2000 -Half a year before the 2000 Presidential election, Vice President Al Gore has a double-digit lead over Texas Governor George W. Bush among voters with disabilities, according to recent Harris Poll data released by the National Organization on Disability. In a Harris Poll conducted between April 7 and 10, Gore leads Bush by 17 percentage points among registered voters with disabilities. The same poll found Bush leading Gore by two percentage points among all registered voters. This very close race emphasizes the importance that any voting segment could have in November's general election.

In its regular national surveys, the Harris Poll includes questions that identify people with disabilities. These surveys consistently have shown a substantial difference in the way voters with disabilities vote as compared to all voters. This "disability gap" can vary in different elections and can change during a campaign.

The National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.), with the Harris Poll, has been measuring and reporting on the participation of people with disabilities in voting as well as other aspects of life for more than a decade. In 1988, the shift in the disability vote was a significant factor in George Bush's victory. Harris Poll data showed that as Republican nominee Bush was overtaking Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis to win that November's election, he particularly gained ground among voters with disabilities. The disability gap in favor of Dukakis fell from 21 points before the Republican convention to 15 points in early September and to 10 points by election day. In the 1996 pre-election polls, a wide disability gap favored President Clinton.

N.O.D. will report regularly on the voting preferences of people with disabilities during the current campaign.

People with Disabilities are Nation's Largest Majority, Powerful Voting Force

The National Organization on Disability is also working to get out the vote among the 34 million Americans with disabilities who are of voting age. N.O.D. recently launched the non-partisan Vote 2000! Campaign, which seeks to add 700,000 voters from the disability population in this November's election. The national Campaign's objectives include increasing voter registration, making polling places accessible and leading a get-out-the-vote drive. "People with disabilities want to participate in the democratic process and exercise their right to vote," said Alan A. Reich, President of N.O.D. Details of the Vote 2000! Campaign can be found on N.O.D.'s website,

In releasing the latest Harris data, Reich stated: "We urge candidates for all national, state and local offices to address issues of importance to citizens with disabilities. We are the nation's largest minority, comprising a fifth of the population. Candidates who ignore us do so at their peril."

The National Organization on Disability was founded in 1982 at the conclusion of the International Year of Disabled Persons. Its mission is to promote the full and equal participation and contribution of America's 54 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. N.O.D. is funded entirely by private donations and accepts no government funding. For more information about N.O.D.'s programs, including Vote 2000!, visit

For information, contact:
Brewster Thackeray, Director of Communications:

Fred Fay
Chair, Justice For All

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