Poll Shows Americans Favor Paying for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 2, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poll Shows Americans Favor Paying for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 2
, 2007

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — With Democrats taking over Congress, the battle over forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research will begin soon. A new poll sponsored by the Associated Press finds a slight majority favors public funding, though others show the support on the decline.

In a question worded to engender more support for the dubious research, the Associated Press-AOL News asked respondents if government should "ease the restrictions on use of federal money to research embryonic stem cells."

Some 56 percent of those polled by the Ipsos polling firm said yes while 41 percent opposed taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The poll is important because Democrats are planning for quick votes in both the House and Senate on legislation to overturn President George W. Bush’s position on stem cell research.

Bush vetoed a first bill last year and both chambers lacked enough votes to override the veto. The Senate appears to have enough override votes now thanks to the November elections but the House still appears short.

The president has limited federal funding for embryonic stem cell research to older cells and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on adult stem cell research, the only kind to show any success in human patients.

The results of the AP poll are similar to a survey from Virginia Commonwealth University released last month.

The VCU poll found 54 percent of Americans back embryonic stem cell research, down from 58 percent in the 2005 survey. The poll found 37 percent strongly or somewhat oppose it because it involves the destruction of human life, up from 32 percent last year.

An August 2006 Newsweek poll also found support for embryonic stem cell research declining.

According to the poll, 48 percent of Americans favor funding embryonic stem cell research with taxpayer funds while 40 percent say they don’t.

That eight percent margin is down from an October 2005 Newsweek poll showing a 50-36 percent split — or a 14 percent margin. That means support for funding embryonic stem cell research with tax dollars is down 6 percent from late last year.

All three polls are different from a previous survey showing Americans opposing the use of taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research.

Conducted by International Communications Research in mid-May, the poll 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.

The new Ipsos poll for AP was conducted Dec. 19-21 and is based on telephone interviews with 1,004 adults from all states except Alaska and Hawaii.