Poll Shows Florida Residents Split on Allowing Terri Schiavo to Live

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 8, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poll Shows Florida Residents Split on Allowing Terri Schiavo to Live

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 8, 2004

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — A new poll shows Florida residents split on the issue of Governor Jeb Bush stepping in six months ago to ensure that Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband did not end her life by removing the feeding tube that is allowing her to live.

The poll found that 41 percent of Florida residents backed Bush’s decision while an equal number say it was wrong. Some 18 percent of respondents were unsure.

Responding to the poll, Pat Anderson, attorney for Terri’s parents Bob and Mary Schindler, told LifeNews.com, "Perhaps people have begun to think about who they would trust to decide their lives are no longer worth living."

"Perhaps they’ve even begun to imagine themselves as vulnerable and disabled and how susceptible to abuse that would leave them," Anderson said. "Maybe even people have begun to see Terri Schiavo as a human being."

Although previous polls have showed strong opposition to Governor Bush intervening on behalf of Terri, they have been roundly condemned as biased.

According to a late February poll, conducted for The Florida Times-Union and South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspapers, only 29 percent backed the governor while 67 percent said Bush and the Legislature were wrong to get involved.

But, pro-life advocates say the question used by Maryland-based polling firm Research 2000, was extraordinarily biased, and that a fairer question could turn up significantly different results.

Respondents were asked: "Do you think Governor Bush and the Florida legislature were right to order the continuation of life support for Terri Schiavo, who has been in a vegetative state for more than a decade?"

However, Terri Schiavo is not on life support nor is she in a vegetative state.

In October, three doctors, including a radiologist and Dr. William Hammesfahr, a recognized national expert on PVS and a Nobel prize nominee, assessed Terri’s condition. "This woman is not in a persistent vegetative state," the doctors said at a press conference to announce their findings.

"This is a morally profound, complicated issue," Alia Faraj, a Bush spokeswoman, told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. "But the governor has strong feelings about saving the life of Terri Schiavo. He felt this was the right thing to do."

The new telephone survey of 625 likely voters was conducted March 30 through April 1 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The Orlando Sentinel and WESH-TV sponsored the poll.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s family – https://www.terrisfight.org