New poll finds 72% of adults surveyed believe research has merit
NORWALK, Connecticut, USA (October 7, 2010) – A large majority of Americans across various demographic groups agree that scientists should be able to use stem cells for biomedical research, according to a recent Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.
Almost three quarters of adults surveyed are in favor of using embryonic stem cells left over from in vitro fertilization procedures to search for potential prevention or treatment of diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes and other conditions. These poll results remain consistent with a similar survey released in 2005.
This poll took place at a critical juncture in legal arguments surrounding stem cell research in the United States. Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that federal funding of embryonic stem cell research violated a 1996 law prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for such work. The Obama administration appealed that decision. Soon after, an appeals court issued a temporary suspension of the ban until it could hear full arguments over the next few weeks.
"There is now overwhelming public support for using embryonic stem cells in biomedical research," said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of the Harris Poll, a service of Harris Interactive. "Even among Catholics and born-again Christians, relatively few people believe that stem cell research should be forbidden because it is unethical or immoral."
Paul Sanberg, distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa, said, "This [poll] shows that the public still believes that stem cells could lead to important therapeutics."
The poll was conducted online between Sept. 28-30 and included 2,113 adults ages 18 and over. Among its other findings:
- Seventy-three percent (versus 72 percent in 2005) believe that stem cell research should be allowed "as long as the parents of the embryo give their permission, and the embryo would otherwise be destroyed."
- Fifty-eight percent of Republicans think stem cell research is acceptable (versus 24 percent opposed), as do 69 percent of Catholics and 58 percent of born-again Christians. Sixteen percent of Catholics and 22 percent of born-again Christians oppose it.
- Two-thirds of the respondents agreed that, "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."
The complete finding of this joint Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll is available online here. HealthDay's news report is available here. Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Interactive.
HealthDay, a division of Scout News LLC, is a leading producer and syndicator of evidence-based health news for consumers and physicians and is the largest syndicator of that news to Internet sites. Its consumer health news service (http://www.healthday.com/) appears on more than 5,000 Web sites such as Yahoo!, MSN, iVillage, US News & World Report, hundreds of hospital and hospital group Web sites, as well as print publication Web sites across the country. HealthDay also produces Physician's Briefing (http://www.physiciansbriefing.com/), a news service for physicians, nurses and other medical professionals updated twice daily providing 15 articles a day across 27 medical specialties. HealthDay also provides custom content for major health portals. The newest addition to the HealthDay portfolio is HealthDay TV -- a 90-second news broadcast of essential health information that appears on several major media Web sites, U.S. government Web sites and other health information sites.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries, including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through its North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help clients stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
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