by Steven Ertelt
May 10, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Lawmakers in Congress who want to use taxpayer funds for unproven embryonic stem cell research are touting a new poll that claims a majority of Republicans back the controversial research.
David Winston, who conducts polls for Republican groups, surveyed 800 Republicans nationwide on various issues, including stem cell research.
Winton’s poll found 57 percent of GOPers backed embryonic stem cell research while 40 percent opposed the destructive practice.
Rep. Mike Castle, a Delaware Republican sponsoring a bill to overturn President Bush’s limited on taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research told the Associated Press, "Anytime you see a poll like that, that’s a strong preference."
"Members of Congress understand polls," he added. "I think the other thing that’s important is who takes polls."
What’s also important is the question respondents are asked. In polls that specifically ask people whether they support or oppose using taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research, a majority opposes the practice.
In an August 2004 poll conducted by Wilson Research Strategies, 53 percent of respondents said that they opposed “using tax dollars to pay for the kind of stem cell research that requires the killing of human embryos,” while only 38 percent supported it.
Meanwhile, a post-election survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health.
When asked if various health care issues should "be a top priority for the President and Congress this year," just 21 percent cited "Increasing federal funding for stem cell research."
The results made stem cell research funding the 12th most important health care issue of twelve named by Kaiser in the poll.
In August 2001, President Bush prohibited using taxpayer funds for any new embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of human life.
Instead, the President authorized the National Institutes of Health to spend more than $190 million on the use of adult stem cells. Such research, considered more ethical, has already produced dozens of treatments for various cures and ailments.