Poll: Americans Oppose Bush Veto of Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Not Upset

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 26, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poll: Americans Oppose Bush Veto of Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Not Upset Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 26, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new Gallup poll claims a majority of Americans disapprove of President Bush’s veto of a Congressional bill that would have forced spending taxpayer’s money on embryonic stem cell research. Bush vetoed the bill last week saying the United States shouldn’t pay for the destruction of human life.

According to the poll, 58 percent of Americans disagreed with the president’s veto while 36 percent supported it. Some six percent of those polled had no opinion.

Responding to the poll, White House spokesman Ken Lisaius told USA Today, "The president does not make policy decisions based on polling numbers."

"He vetoed the legislation because it would provide federal tax dollars to fund the present and future destruction of human life for research," Lisaius added.

Breaking down the numbers, the poll found 61% of Republicans approve of the veto, compared with 19% of Democrats and 33% of independents.

Of those the 58 percent who disapproved of the veto, Gallup asked those respondents how upset they are with the decision. Some 44 percent were upset and 14 percent disapproved of the veto but were not upset about it.

In other words, roughly 50 percent of Americans either supported the president’s veto or disapproved but were not upset by it.

While embryonic stem cell research backers plan to make Bush’s veto and the House and Senate votes on the bill an election-year issue, Lydia Saad, senior editor of the Gallup Poll, says the poll numbers show Americans aren’t overwhelmingly upset about the veto.

"They might be overstating the case," she told USA Today. "It would not seem to be a make-or-break election issue. There doesn’t seem to be that much public intensity."

Responding to the veto, former presidential candidate John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, said "This wasn’t a pro-life veto. This was a political veto."

But Americans appear to disagree with his assessment.

Gallup also asked respondents whether they believed President Bush vetoed the bill for political gain or on the basis of deeply held moral beliefs. Sixty-one percent of those polled said Bush vetoed the bill on the basis of personal moral beliefs while just 32 percent said it was to gain a political advantage.

The Gallup poll differs with the most recent poll leading up to the Senate vote on the embryonic stem cell research funding bill and Bush’s veto of it.

A survey conducted by International Communications Research in mid-May, found 48% of Americans oppose federal funding of stem cell research that requires destroying human embryos. Just 39% support such funding and another 12 percent had no position.

The ICR survey found 57% favored funding only the research avenues that do not harm the donor. Just 24% favored funding all stem cell research, including the type that involves destroying human embryos.