Monday, June 06, 2005

Most Americans Back Stem Cell Research

Most Americans Back Research
Using Stem Cells, Poll Shows

June 7, 2005

Most Americans, regardless of party identification or religious affiliation, believe stem-cell research should be allowed, according to a Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive health-care poll.

However, while support has generally stabilized since 2004, the poll indicates a growing division of opinion among some groups regarding stem-cell research, with people who were once unsure of their stance on the issue now taking sides.

Stem cells come from embryos left over from in vitro fertilization that aren't used, and are 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.

A large majority of Democrats (83%) say they support stem-cell research, up from 80% in 2004. But support from Independents decreased to 79% from 83%, while Republican support was unchanged from a year ago at 60%.


However, one-in-four Republicans, compared with one-in-five one a year ago, now believe that stem-cell research shouldn't be allowed, while the proportion of Republicans who are unsure has likewise declined.

Among those with a religious affiliation, born-again Christians saw the biggest increase in opposition to the research, rising to 29% from 21% a year ago.

"This suggests that political and religious conservatives are gaining support as they continue to campaign against stem-cell research," says Katherine Binns, senior vice president of Harris Interactive.


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