Poll: Republicans Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Public Split

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 26, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poll: Republicans Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Public Split Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 26, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new Gallup poll shows the public is split on the issue of embryonic stem cell research and, contrary to the claims of supporters of a bill to fund it, Republicans oppose embryonic stem cell research.

According to a May 20-22 Gallup poll, approximately 42 percent of Americans want to "ease current restrictions" on stem cell research funding put in place by President Bush. Another 43 percent either don’t want to fund embryonic stem cell research at all (19%) or favor President Bush’s current policy (24 percent).

Some 11 percent of Americans favor no restrictions on stem cell research funding.

However, the Gallup poll did not explain what kinds of restrictions are currently in place. Some media outlets and politicians, such as former presidential candidate John Kerry, have claimed the president has put a ban in place on stem cell research funding.

President Bush’s policy prohibits federal funding of any new embryonic stem cell research, but his administration has spent more than $190 million on research using adult stem cells. Such cells have already produced dozens of treatments for various diseases.

Meanwhile, the Gallup poll showed "a majority of Republicans hold views consistent with Bush’s" position.

Nearly 6 in 10 Republicans (59%) prefer to maintain the current restrictions on stem cell research funding, or prohibit such funding altogether. Just over one-third of Republicans (36%) believe taxpayer funds should be used for embryonic stem cell research.

Backers of legislation in Congress to do that have claimed Republicans favor overturning Bush’s policy.

The Gallup poll also found that Americans are paying as much attention to the debate over embryonic stem cell research as they do other political issues.

Approximately 6 in 10 Americans (58%) say they are following the debate very or somewhat closely. Another 27% are following it "not too closely," while just 15% are not following it at all.

This is higher than the 42% paying close attention to the recent filibuster controversy, but lower than the 66% who closely followed the Terri Schiavo case.

Across 150 news attention measures taken by Gallup since 1991, the average percentage paying very or somewhat close attention has been 60%.

For the latest poll, Gallup surveyed 1,006 adults, aged 18 and older from May 20-22, 2005.