Public Attitudes to Assisted Dying

Ipsos MORI surveyed adults in 15 countries on attitudes towards assisted dying laws

Public Attitudes to Assisted Dying

In June the Economist and Ipsos MORI interviewed online adults in 15 countries regarding their attitudes towards doctor assisted suicide.

Participants were asked whether or not it should be legal for a doctor to assist a patient aged 18 or over in ending their life, if that is the patient's wish, provided that the patient is terminally ill (where it is believed they have less than six months to live) of sound mind, and expresses a clear desire to end their life?

Respondents were also asked if this should be legal under seven separate circumstances:

  • If the doctor were to prescribe life ending medication that the patient could take themselves (self administered)
  • If the doctor administered life-ending medication themselves (doctor administered)
  • If the patient was aged 15-17
  • If the patient was aged 11-14
  • If the patient was aged 10 or under
  • If the patient was not terminally ill, but physically suffering in a way that could not be cured or improved with existing medical science and which they found unbearable
  • If the patient was not terminally ill, but mentally or emotionally suffering in a way that could not be cured or improved with existing medical science and which they found unbearable

Findings

In 13 of the 15 countries surveyed, more than half of online adults say that doctor-assisted dying should be legal. The exceptions were: 

  • Poland, where 48% say it should be legal and 29% say it should not
  • Russia, where 47% say it should be legal and 32% say it should not

Belgium (86%) has the highest proportion of participants saying that doctor-assisted dying should be legal, followed by France (84%) and the Netherlands (81%).

In Great Britain 70% of participants say that it should be legal, whilst 13% who say it should not be legal.

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Technical Note

 

Ipsos MORI interviewed an online sample of c. 2,000 – 2,200 adults in each country using i:omnibus, Ipsos MORI’s online omnibus, with the exception of Australia and Japan, which were conducted as stand-alone online quota surveys. Interviews took place between 5th and 19th June 2015, with fieldwork quotas set on age, gender and region in each country. Data are weighted by to match the profile of the adult population surveyed in each country. Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.

The full details of sample, weighting and fieldwork dates for each country are outlined below:

  • Great Britain: 2,162 adults 16-75 were interviewed between 5th and 9th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region, working status and socio-economic grade
  • USA: 2,175 adults 18-75 were interviewed between 5th and 9th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region, working status and household income
  • Canada: 2,129 adults 18-75 were interviewed between 8th and 11th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region, working status, household income and the first language of the participant
  • Germany: 2,195 adults 16-70 were interviewed between 11th and 15th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region, working status and market size
  • Italy: 2,190 adults 16-70 were interviewed between 10th and 15th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region and working status
  • Spain: 2,112 adults 16-65 were interviewed between 10th and 16th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region and working status
  • Japan: 2,001 adults 18-65 were interviewed between 10th and 15th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region and working status
  • Sweden: 2,208 adults 16-65 were interviewed between 8th and 17th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region and working status
  • Belgium: 2,094 adults 18-75 were interviewed between 9th and 15th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region, working status and the first language of the participant
  • France: 2,199 adults 16-75 were interviewed between 10th and 15th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region, working status and participant occupation
  • Hungary: 2,199 adults 16-60 were interviewed between 10th and 15th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region and working status
  • Netherlands: 2,199 adults 16-70 were interviewed between 9th and 15th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region and working status
  • Poland: 2,200 adults 16-60 were interviewed between 10th and 15th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region and working status
  • Russia: 2,123 adults 16-60 were interviewed between 10th and 15th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region and working status
  • Australia: 2,014 adults 16-65 were interviewed between 10th and 19th June 2015, data were weighted according to age, gender, region and working status

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