Stem Cell Polling: Support Has Steadily Grown

By Chris Good

In searching through polls this morning to try to find out whether embryonic research is, as many suggest, widely popular among the American public, it seems this Gallup study provides the best long view of how public opinion on the research has changed. Gallup reports that, between 2002 and 2007, more and more people found embryonic stem cell research "morally acceptable," while fewer found it "morally wrong." The divergence went from 52/39 (in favor of embryonic research's morality) to 64/30. Gallup's graph and more polls after the jump.

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A Time poll conducted by the SBRI research group in June of 2008 found that 73% support embryonic stem cell research. (One possible reason for SBRI's higher number than Gallup's, in addition to a year having elapsed, was that SBRI's question script stressed that the research could help cure diseases and that the embryos in question are "discarded" from fertility clinics). SBRI polled 805 adults nationwide over a week; margin of error was +/- 3%.

A Pew poll in August 2007 found that 51% said "conducting stem cell research that might result in new medical cures" was more important than "not destroying potential human life in embryos involved in this research," while 35% said not destrying potential life was more important. Pew surveyed 3,002 adults nationwide; margin of error was +/-2%.

See more polling on embryonic stem cell research at The Polling Report's Science and Nature page. Most of the data suggests that support has steadily grown for embryonic research since the early 2000s.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/03/stem-cell-polling-support-has-steadily-grown/1336/