Disability as a Political Negative

Back in college I took a public opinion research course. One of the tasks in that class was the design and completion of a fairly substantial public opinion survey. Part of that involved completion of a minimum of 20 one-hour telephone surveys. I mention that as background because from time to time when callers ring today, I remember what it was like to need to get enough surveys and will take the time to answer all the questions of whatever individual happens to be calling.


This evening one of the questions basically said something like, “To the extent the following statements are correct, how serious of a concern would you have about voting for the given candidate?” Then were the expected choices such as very serious, somewhat serious and such.


Straight forward enough, mention what might I guess be perceived as the given candidate’s negatives and see how big of a deal they are.


The candidates in question are running someplace in Washington state for state representative. I can honestly say I had never heard of either individual and right now haven’t studied a thing about the given election.


Earlier in the survey it came out that one of the individuals was “sight impaired”. This was talking about the individual and said something about having worked hard from an early age or some such wording. It was the survey reader who used the term sight impaired here.


Anyway, when it came to rattling off the negatives for the individual one of the statements went something like, “The candidate is disabled, not a home owner and doesn’t pay property tax.”


Ironically, a negative for the other guy was something about having failed to pay some tax and ending up with a lean on some property.


I mention all of this just because it was kind of well, I’m not sure how to classify it, to hear disability tossed out in this context. Oh I fully understand the various reasons why disability was mentioned but I really hope one day we get beyond this kind of garbage.

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