Stem Cell Research Debate Last Summer Paved The Way For Greater Acceptance Of Human Cloning Research Today


Between November 30 to December 2, 2001, Ipsos-Reid interviewed a representative sample of 1000 U.S. adults nationwide by telephone. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%. Public support for a complete ban on all research into human cloning without exception is receding significantly, down to 33% compared to 42% in favor of a complete ban in June, 2001. Americans today are slightly more likely than they were in June to take the opposite position, opposed to any law that restricts research into human cloning (21% last weekend, compared with 17% in June) and a larger number are undecided now (6% now, compared with 2% in June). "The effect of the White House instigating a debate on stem cell research last summer, followed by last week's revelation that private organizations intend to proceed with human cloning as a way to grow stem cells for research, has had the effect of unsettling the opinions of those who once were strong opponents of all forms of human cloning research," reports Thomas Riehle, President of Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs. "When such a strong moralist on human life issues as Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch endorses stem cell research, and scientists then say human cloning techniques can be used to generate more stem cells, some anti-human cloning fundamentalists start to temper their position." The wide gender gap on the question has narrowed. Women (36% favor a complete ban) are only slightly more likely than men (30%) to support a complete ban. Women were once among the most strongly anti-cloning, with almost half all women in June (49%) supporting a complete ban on research into human cloning without exception. Even in the current survey, women are twice as likely to favor a complete ban (36%) than to oppose any law that restricts research into human cloning (18%)--the rest of women favor a ban on cloning full-grown humans while still allowing research on cloned embryos (39%). Proponents of a complete ban tend to be lower-income (41% of those with incomes under $25,000 favor a complete ban), less-well-educated (39% of those with a high school degree or less favor a complete ban) and not employed currently. Democrats, however, tend to oppose any law that restricts research into human cloning. In fact, Democrats represent one of the only subgroups that prove as likely or more likely oppose any new law that restricts human cloning research (27%) as they are to support a complete ban on such research (25%). Similarly, among the 41% of Americans who say they would consider voting for someone other than President Bush if there were a Presidential election today, 26% oppose any law restricting the research while 25% would ban it. By contrast, among the 56% majority who would vote to reelect Bush, only 18% oppose any law restricting research and twice as many Bush supporters (38%) would favor a complete ban. "With more and more Americans reconsidering their support for a ban on human cloning research in light of its usefulness to stem cell research, the issue harms the cohesiveness of the Bush coalition. Supporters of Bush remain proponents of a ban or strong restrictions on such research, so as the scientific world moves in the direction of research, the choice facing the Bush Administration is to either stand in the way of a public opinion trend that is receding from such a complete ban or get on board the trend and disappoint its best friends and supporters in the process," says Riehle.
    Contact: Thomas Riehle President Ipsos-Reid U.S. Public Affairs Telephone 202.463.7300 Thomas Riehle

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