Poll: 57% of Americans Oppose Tax Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
by Steven Ertelt
August 27, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — On the week in which a federal judge ruled that President Barack Obama’s executive order forcing Americans to pay for embryonic stem cell research with taxpayer funds violates a federal law, a new poll shows a majority of Americans opposed tax-funding the controversial and unproven research.
Only 33% of U.S. voters believe that taxpayer money should be spent on embryonic stem cell research, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans say funding for the research, which has never helped any patients and requires the destruction of human life to facilitate, should be left to the private sector.
The Rasmussen poll found 55% of voters who identify themselves as "pro-choice" support government funding of embryonic stem cell research, but a much higher 83 percent of pro-life advocates oppose it.
Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Republicans and 62% of voters not affiliated with either major party oppose taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. Fifty-five percent of Democrats do back forcing taxpayers to fund the destructive research.
The poll did find that Americans support embryonic stem cell research as 24% of voters now believe embryonic stem cell research is morally wrong, down five points from March 2009 when Rasmussen conducted a similar survey. Fifty-four percent say it is not morally wrong, unchanged from the previous survey, and 21 percent are unsure.
Fifty-two percent (52%) of pro-life voters think embryonic stem cell research is morally okay do 79 percent of those who support legalized abortion.
Virtually unchanged since January 2007 is the finding that 69% of voters believe it is at least somewhat likely that embryonic stem cell research has the potential to lead to cures.
That’s despite the fact that embryonic stem cell research has not been successful in animals because injection of the cells has caused tumors and sparked immune system rejection issues — neither of which have been solved. That’s why the cells have never been used in humans and may never help human patients in the way adult stem cells already treat more than 100 diseases and conditions.
Some 18 percent of Americans say it is not very or not at all likely that embryonic stem cell research will help find cures for diseases that are presently incurable.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters say they have followed the issue of stem cell research at least somewhat closely, with 23% who are following Very Closely.
The Obama administration announced it will appeal a federal judge’s decision striking down the executive order forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research. The judge said the order contravened a federal law against funding the destruction of human embryos.
U.S. district court Judge Royce Lamberth granted a preliminary injunction against the funding.
Judge Lamberth’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by stem cell researchers who said the Obama executive order and subsequent funding from the National Institutes of Health violated the Dickey amendment, the federal law prohibiting funding the destruction of human embryos via research.
In his decision, Lamberth noted that the imposition of an injunction required that those challenging the government’s funding demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success on the merits for their arguments. Apparently, they succeeded.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 25-26, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports and it has a 3 percent margin of error.
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