A new survey of likely voters suggests most are touched personally by someone with a disability and that those relationships could affect how they vote in the November election.

In the poll of 1,000 expected voters nationwide, 51 percent said that they have a family member or close friend with a disability. And many indicated that connection could impact their decision in the upcoming presidential election.

Some 41 percent of those surveyed said they’d be more inclined to support a candidate who pledges to make policies and programs helping those with disabilities a national priority.

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Only 2 percent of respondents indicated that disability programs should not be a top concern.

“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 need to pay attention,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of the strategic communications group Laszlo Strategies which conducted the survey in early September along with the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

Voter interest in disability issues does differ by party affiliation, however, according to the research results. Democrats were more likely to say that a candidate’s stance on programs affecting those with special needs would impact their decision at the ballot box.

Meanwhile, while the poll found that voters were largely split on whether or not the government is currently doing enough to assist those with disabilities to “lead a normal life,” Republicans were more likely to say that the status quo is sufficient.

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