Public Support for Stem Cell Research Increases to a 73 to 11 Percent Majority, According to Harris Interactive

Sep 07, 2004, 01:00 ET from Harris Interactive

    ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2001, a Harris Poll reported
 that a 3-to-1 majority of Americans believed that stem cell research should be
 allowed. Three years later, a new Harris Poll finds that this majority
 supporting stem cell research has increased to more than 6-to-1. Other changes
 since 2001 include a substantial increase in the number of people who have
 seen, read or heard about the debate on stem cell research, stronger support
 for arguments in favor of stem cell research, and less support for arguments
 against it.
     These results may explain the decision to feature the strong plea in favor
 of stem cell research by President Reagan's son, Ron Reagan, at the 2004
 Democratic National Convention in Boston. As Democrats looked for issues where
 large majorities of the public supported their positions and opposed those of
 President George W. Bush, stem cell research must have caught their attention.
 In this new survey, the large majorities of the public who support stem cell
 research must look very attractive, particularly because large majorities of
 Republicans and Independents, not just Democrats, support the research.
     Having said that, we should note that President Bush has not formally
 opposed all stem cell research. The law which he supported and signed
 restricted the use of federal funding (not other funding) for stem cell
 research to a small number of embryonic stem cell lines. It was a compromise
 which had the effect of restricting, but not eliminating, stem cell research.
 This may have helped to appease his conservative base, but it makes him
 vulnerable to criticism from the growing majority of stem cell research
 supporters.
     These are some of the results of a nationwide survey of 2,242 adults
 interviewed online by Harris Interactive(R) between July 12 and 18, 2004.
     Downloadable PDFs of the Harris Interactive Health Care News are available
 at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_healthcare.asp.
     Those who say they have seen, heard or read about the debate on whether to
 allow stem cell research have increased from 68 percent in 2001 to 83 percent
 now.
 
                                    TABLE 1
                   SEEN, HEARD, READ ABOUT STEM CELL RESEARCH
 
  "Have you seen, heard or read anything about the debate on whether to allow
   the use of stem cells from human embryos to be used in medical research?"
 
     Base: All Adults
 
                                                2001            2004
                                                  %               %
     Yes, seen, heard, read                      68              83
     No, have not/Not sure                       32              17
 
     The majority who believe that stem cell research should be allowed has
 increased from 61 percent in favor in 2001 to 73 percent in favor now. This
 majority support for stem cell research includes almost all Democrats with
 opinions (80%) and Independents (83%) and a large, if smaller, majority of
 Republicans (60%).
 
                                    TABLE 2
                SHOULD STEM CELL RESEARCH BE ALLOWED - BY PARTY
 
 "Stem cells come from embryos left over from invitro fertilization, which are
 not used and normally destroyed. Many medical researchers want to use them to
  develop treatments, or to prevent diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's or
  Parkinson's disease. On balance, do you think this research should or should
                                not be allowed?"
 
     Base: All Adults
 
 
                              TOTAL     TOTAL       Party Identification
                               2001      2004  Republican Democrat Independent
                                %         %        %          %         %
     Should be allowed         61        73        60        80         83
     Should not be allowed     21        11        18         5          7
     Not sure/Refused          18        16        21        15         10
     NOTE: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.
 
     Those who believe that "using stem cells from human embryos for research
 comes too close to allowing scientists to play God" have fallen sharply from
 40 percent in 2001 to only 19 percent now. Those who believe that "allowing
 any medical research using stem cells from human embryos should be forbidden
 because it is unethical and immoral" have also fallen sharply from 32 percent
 to 15 percent over the last three years.
 
                                    TABLE 3
          AGREE/DISAGREE WITH FOUR STATEMENTS ABOUT STEM CELL RESEARCH
 
   "Please indicate whether you tend to agree or disagree with the following
                                  statements."
 
     Base: All Adults
                                                                         Not
                                                      Tend to  Tend to    Sure/
                                                       Agree   Disagree Refused
     As long as the parents of the embryo
      give their permission, and the
      embryo would otherwise be destroyed,
      stem cell research should be
      allowed                             2001   %        72      21        7
                                          2004   %        72      13       15
     If most scientists believe that stem
      cell research  will greatly increase
      our ability to prevent or treat
      serious diseases we should trust
      them and let them do it             2001   %        63      29        7
                                          2004   %        67      16       18
     Using cells from human embryos for
      research comes too close to
      allowing scientists to play God     2001   %        40      53        7
                                          2004   %        19      57       24
     Allowing any medical research using
      stem cells from human embryos
      should be forbidden  because it is
      unethical and immoral               2001   %        32      60        8
                                          2004   %        15      63       22
     NOTE: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.
 
     Religion and stem cell research
     The level of opposition to stem cell research varies according to people's
 religious beliefs. Those who describe themselves as "very religious" are much
 more likely to oppose stem research than those who are "not at all" or "not
 very" religious (23% vs. 4%). Born-Again Christians are more likely to oppose
 it than are other Christians (21% vs. 9%); and Catholics are somewhat more
 likely to oppose it than Protestants (15% vs. 10%).
     However, clear majorities of all religious groups we analyzed think stem
 cell research should be allowed.
 
                                    TABLE 4
               SHOULD STEM CELL RESEARCH BE ALLOWED - BY RELIGION
 
 "Stem cells come from embryos left over from invitro fertilization, which are
 not used and normally destroyed. Many medical researchers want to use them to
  develop treatments, or to prevent diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's or
  Parkinson's disease. On balance, do you think this research should or should
                                not be allowed?"
 
     Base: All Adults
 
                                                                     All Other
                                                    Other     Born-     (Not
                         TOTAL  Catholic Protestant Christian  Again     Born-
                                                             Christian  Again)-
                                                                    Christians
 
                           %       %         %        %        %         %
     Should be allowed    73      67        77       66       58        75
     Should not be
      allowed             11      15        10       13       21         9
     Not sure/Refused     16      18        12       20       21        16
 
 
                                            Very       Somewhat    Not at All/
                                 TOTAL    Religious    Religious    Not Very
                                                                    Religious
                                   %          %            %            %
     Should be allowed            73         55            76          84
     Should not be allowed        11         23             9           4
     Not sure/Refused             16         22            16          11
     NOTE: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.
 
     A methodological note
     Readers should note that the number of "not sures" are higher in this new
 survey than they were in 2001. This does not necessarily mean that more people
 are unsure now than they were in 2001. In this new survey, respondents were
 offered "not sure" as a possible response. In the 2001 survey, they were not
 told that this was a choice but they could still give it. The increase in "not
 sures" is probably a result of this change in the interview.
 
     Methodology
     This research was conducted online within the United States between July
 12 and 18, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 2,242 adults (aged 18
 years and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household
 income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual
 proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to
 adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
     In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95
 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2
 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had
 been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other
 possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more
 serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals
 to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and question order, and
 weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these
 factors. This online sample was not a probability sample.
     These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
     J12662
     Q805, Q810, Q815
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive (http://www.harrisinteractive.com) is a worldwide
 market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for
 pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market
 research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, U.S.A., Harris Interactive
 combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in
 predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international
 research through wholly owned subsidiaries-London-based HI Europe
 (http://www.hieurope.com) and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan-as well as
 through the Harris Interactive Global Network of local market- and opinion-
 research firms, and various U.S. offices. EOE M/F/D/V
 
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, visitwww.harrispollonline.com.
 
      Press Contacts:
 
      Nancy Wong
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7316
 
      Kelly Gullo
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7172
 
 

SOURCE Harris Interactive
    ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2001, a Harris Poll reported
 that a 3-to-1 majority of Americans believed that stem cell research should be
 allowed. Three years later, a new Harris Poll finds that this majority
 supporting stem cell research has increased to more than 6-to-1. Other changes
 since 2001 include a substantial increase in the number of people who have
 seen, read or heard about the debate on stem cell research, stronger support
 for arguments in favor of stem cell research, and less support for arguments
 against it.
     These results may explain the decision to feature the strong plea in favor
 of stem cell research by President Reagan's son, Ron Reagan, at the 2004
 Democratic National Convention in Boston. As Democrats looked for issues where
 large majorities of the public supported their positions and opposed those of
 President George W. Bush, stem cell research must have caught their attention.
 In this new survey, the large majorities of the public who support stem cell
 research must look very attractive, particularly because large majorities of
 Republicans and Independents, not just Democrats, support the research.
     Having said that, we should note that President Bush has not formally
 opposed all stem cell research. The law which he supported and signed
 restricted the use of federal funding (not other funding) for stem cell
 research to a small number of embryonic stem cell lines. It was a compromise
 which had the effect of restricting, but not eliminating, stem cell research.
 This may have helped to appease his conservative base, but it makes him
 vulnerable to criticism from the growing majority of stem cell research
 supporters.
     These are some of the results of a nationwide survey of 2,242 adults
 interviewed online by Harris Interactive(R) between July 12 and 18, 2004.
     Downloadable PDFs of the Harris Interactive Health Care News are available
 at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_healthcare.asp.
     Those who say they have seen, heard or read about the debate on whether to
 allow stem cell research have increased from 68 percent in 2001 to 83 percent
 now.
 
                                    TABLE 1
                   SEEN, HEARD, READ ABOUT STEM CELL RESEARCH
 
  "Have you seen, heard or read anything about the debate on whether to allow
   the use of stem cells from human embryos to be used in medical research?"
 
     Base: All Adults
 
                                                2001            2004
                                                  %               %
     Yes, seen, heard, read                      68              83
     No, have not/Not sure                       32              17
 
     The majority who believe that stem cell research should be allowed has
 increased from 61 percent in favor in 2001 to 73 percent in favor now. This
 majority support for stem cell research includes almost all Democrats with
 opinions (80%) and Independents (83%) and a large, if smaller, majority of
 Republicans (60%).
 
                                    TABLE 2
                SHOULD STEM CELL RESEARCH BE ALLOWED - BY PARTY
 
 "Stem cells come from embryos left over from invitro fertilization, which are
 not used and normally destroyed. Many medical researchers want to use them to
  develop treatments, or to prevent diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's or
  Parkinson's disease. On balance, do you think this research should or should
                                not be allowed?"
 
     Base: All Adults
 
 
                              TOTAL     TOTAL       Party Identification
                               2001      2004  Republican Democrat Independent
                                %         %        %          %         %
     Should be allowed         61        73        60        80         83
     Should not be allowed     21        11        18         5          7
     Not sure/Refused          18        16        21        15         10
     NOTE: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.
 
     Those who believe that "using stem cells from human embryos for research
 comes too close to allowing scientists to play God" have fallen sharply from
 40 percent in 2001 to only 19 percent now. Those who believe that "allowing
 any medical research using stem cells from human embryos should be forbidden
 because it is unethical and immoral" have also fallen sharply from 32 percent
 to 15 percent over the last three years.
 
                                    TABLE 3
          AGREE/DISAGREE WITH FOUR STATEMENTS ABOUT STEM CELL RESEARCH
 
   "Please indicate whether you tend to agree or disagree with the following
                                  statements."
 
     Base: All Adults
                                                                         Not
                                                      Tend to  Tend to    Sure/
                                                       Agree   Disagree Refused
     As long as the parents of the embryo
      give their permission, and the
      embryo would otherwise be destroyed,
      stem cell research should be
      allowed                             2001   %        72      21        7
                                          2004   %        72      13       15
     If most scientists believe that stem
      cell research  will greatly increase
      our ability to prevent or treat
      serious diseases we should trust
      them and let them do it             2001   %        63      29        7
                                          2004   %        67      16       18
     Using cells from human embryos for
      research comes too close to
      allowing scientists to play God     2001   %        40      53        7
                                          2004   %        19      57       24
     Allowing any medical research using
      stem cells from human embryos
      should be forbidden  because it is
      unethical and immoral               2001   %        32      60        8
                                          2004   %        15      63       22
     NOTE: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.
 
     Religion and stem cell research
     The level of opposition to stem cell research varies according to people's
 religious beliefs. Those who describe themselves as "very religious" are much
 more likely to oppose stem research than those who are "not at all" or "not
 very" religious (23% vs. 4%). Born-Again Christians are more likely to oppose
 it than are other Christians (21% vs. 9%); and Catholics are somewhat more
 likely to oppose it than Protestants (15% vs. 10%).
     However, clear majorities of all religious groups we analyzed think stem
 cell research should be allowed.
 
                                    TABLE 4
               SHOULD STEM CELL RESEARCH BE ALLOWED - BY RELIGION
 
 "Stem cells come from embryos left over from invitro fertilization, which are
 not used and normally destroyed. Many medical researchers want to use them to
  develop treatments, or to prevent diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's or
  Parkinson's disease. On balance, do you think this research should or should
                                not be allowed?"
 
     Base: All Adults
 
                                                                     All Other
                                                    Other     Born-     (Not
                         TOTAL  Catholic Protestant Christian  Again     Born-
                                                             Christian  Again)-
                                                                    Christians
 
                           %       %         %        %        %         %
     Should be allowed    73      67        77       66       58        75
     Should not be
      allowed             11      15        10       13       21         9
     Not sure/Refused     16      18        12       20       21        16
 
 
                                            Very       Somewhat    Not at All/
                                 TOTAL    Religious    Religious    Not Very
                                                                    Religious
                                   %          %            %            %
     Should be allowed            73         55            76          84
     Should not be allowed        11         23             9           4
     Not sure/Refused             16         22            16          11
     NOTE: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.
 
     A methodological note
     Readers should note that the number of "not sures" are higher in this new
 survey than they were in 2001. This does not necessarily mean that more people
 are unsure now than they were in 2001. In this new survey, respondents were
 offered "not sure" as a possible response. In the 2001 survey, they were not
 told that this was a choice but they could still give it. The increase in "not
 sures" is probably a result of this change in the interview.
 
     Methodology
     This research was conducted online within the United States between July
 12 and 18, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 2,242 adults (aged 18
 years and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household
 income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual
 proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to
 adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
     In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95
 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2
 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had
 been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other
 possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more
 serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals
 to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and question order, and
 weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these
 factors. This online sample was not a probability sample.
     These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
     J12662
     Q805, Q810, Q815
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive (http://www.harrisinteractive.com) is a worldwide
 market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for
 pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market
 research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, U.S.A., Harris Interactive
 combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in
 predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international
 research through wholly owned subsidiaries-London-based HI Europe
 (http://www.hieurope.com) and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan-as well as
 through the Harris Interactive Global Network of local market- and opinion-
 research firms, and various U.S. offices. EOE M/F/D/V
 
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, visitwww.harrispollonline.com.
 
      Press Contacts:
 
      Nancy Wong
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7316
 
      Kelly Gullo
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7172
 
 SOURCE  Harris Interactive