Poll Claims Americans Back Assisted Suicide, Votes and Others Say No

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 2, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poll Claims Americans Back Assisted Suicide, Votes and Others Say No Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 2, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new poll conducted by CBS News claims that a majority of Americans favor assisted suicide. However previous polls show the nation is as least split on the issue or opposed to the grisly practice. And what may matter most, actual ballot votes on the subject, have Americans strongly opposed.

The CBS News poll asked respondents if they thought "a doctor be allowed to assist the person in taking their own life" who "has a disease that will ultimately destroy their mind or body and they want to take their own life."

Some 56 percent of Americans said yes and 37 percent said no. CBS News asked the same question in July 2005 and found a 54-39 percent split in favor of assisted suicide.

Conducted by Angus Reid, the poll surveyed 1,229 American adults from January 20 to 25.

However, an August 2005 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found Americans opposed assisted suicide by a 48-44 percentage margin.

Also, a November 2004 CBS-New York Times survey looked at the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide and found, in a question pro-life groups say was skewed, 46 percent of those polled backed assisted suicide and 45 percent said no.
However, the numbers in that survey indicated the level of support for the grisly practice is dropping.

In 1993, 58 percent said yes to the question and 52 percent backed assisted suicide when asked the question in a similar 1998 poll. The level of opposition to assisted suicide has risen with only 36 percent saying no in 1993 and 37 percent opposing it in 1998.

But what may matter most is what Americans decide at the polls when asked to determine if assisted suicide should be legalized.

While voters in Oregon twice approved allowing assisted suicide there, other states have shown that assisted suicide is not popular.

In Michigan in 1998, voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure to legalize assisted suicide by a wide 71 to 29 percent margin. In 2000, Maine voters defeated an assisted suicide proposal by 51-49 percent.

California voters rejected an assisted suicide proposal by a 54 to 46 percent margin in 1992.