With the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary just weeks away, the question came up at a gathering I attended over the weekend: how important is a presidential candidate's stance on autism services to your vote?
The consensus I heard among four voters at the table was that the issue has to be on the candidate's list of action items. Last month, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York made autism an issue in her campaign by pledging to fund $700 million per year to expand research, diagnostic efforts and services for both children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. (See "Autism Issue Makes Ripple in Presidential Race as Clinton Promises to Spend $700 Million Per Year." A number of Democrats—Barack Obama, John Edwards, Christopher Dodd and Bill Richardson—mention support for autism services in their record. I couldn't locate any recent notes online for any of the Republican candidates.)
With so much going on in the country and world, it seems difficult at this stage of the presidential race to isolate autism as a campaign issue—even for those of us for whom it is a constant, daily presence. So I'm asking you, Autism Bulletin readers, to weigh in. I've created a poll below, where you can click on your choice for the most important issue. If you don't see your issue listed, you can post your comment below. E-mail subscribers can go here to see the poll.