Majority of Americans Back Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Overwhelming Support for U.S. Global Leadership in Research
Thursday, July 7, 2005

WASHINGTON—July 7, 2005—Six in 10 Americans (58%) say they support using embryonic stem cells in medical research, according to a new national poll by Research!America and PARADE magazine. Three in 10 (29%) are opposed.

The poll asked 1,000 adults their views on embryonic stem cell research and the importance of maintaining U.S. leadership in research. Results will be published in the July 10 issue of PARADE.

Other key findings include:

  • Six in 10 Americans (63%) believe the U.S. should have a uniform national policy for medical research using embryonic stem cells.
  • Almost as many (57%) favor federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
  • Many Americans (62%) say they are following the issue of stem cell research at least somewhat closely, but 37% say they are not.
  • Of those who oppose embryonic stem cell research, 57% say their opposition is based on religious objections.
  • Nearly half (49%) of those who identify themselves as Republicans, 71% of Democrats, and 53% of Independents say they support embryonic stem cell research.

"Embryonic stem cell research has been portrayed as a highly partisan issue, but this opinion poll tells us that, to the American people, this is not about politics-it's about hope for healthier, more productive lives," said The Honorable John Edward Porter, Research!America board chair.

In the survey, the source of embryonic stem cells did not significantly affect Americans' views of this type of research. Even when asked about different sources such as embryos donated by fertility clinic patients or those derived using cloning technologies, 60-65% consistently say they are in favor and 25-30% are consistently opposed.

A majority (61%) of Americans say neither they nor anyone they care about suffers from a disease or condition they hope will become treatable or curable as a result of embryonic stem cell research. Nonetheless, of these, more than half (53%) support embryonic stem cell research.

"We see what great value Americans place on the power of medical research to improve our quality of life, that they support embryonic stem cell research even when they expect no immediate benefit to themselves or to their families," said Mary Woolley, president, Research!America, speaking at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco.

As for the goals of stem cell research, Americans have very different views on the use of embryonic stem cells for reproductive cloning-the use of cloning technology to create a child-than therapeutic cloning, which is the search for possible treatments or cures. Eight in 10 Americans (79%) oppose reproductive cloning, while six in 10 (59%) favor therapeutic cloning.

Importance of U.S. Leadership in Research and Training Future Scientists

Americans almost universally (95%) say it is important that the United States be a world leader in medical and health research. Six in 10 (60%) favor expanding U.S. policy to allow more embryonic stem cell research, in the context that other countries are taking the lead in this area, which was pioneered in the United States.

Fully 99% of Americans say it is important for the United States to educate and train future scientists and researchers. Of those, 90% say it is very important. Six in 10 (58%) think the United States is performing well in science and math education compared to other nations. Of those who say the United States is doing well in this aspect, those with a high school education or less hold the most positive views.

"American innovation in science has been a source of national pride for more than a century," said Alan Leshner, PhD, chief executive officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science and executive publisher of the journal Science. "We cannot afford to under-invest in training future scientists, or we risk our intellectual pipeline and our position as a global leader in research."

Research!America is a not-for-profit, membership-supported public education and advocacy alliance founded in 1989 to make medical and health research-including research to prevent disease, disability and injury and to promote health-a much higher national priority.

Each Sunday, PARADE, the largest circulation magazine in the world, has a conversation with America-educating, entertaining, and empowering its 79 million readers. For more than 60 years, PARADE's columns, in-depth articles and inspiring stories have helped people to affect change in their lives, their communities and the world. PARADE is distributed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through more than 350 of our nation's finest newspapers, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and New York Post.

Research!America and PARADE commissioned the Charlton Research Company to conduct a telephone survey among 1,000 adults nationwide. The sample was proportionate to the country's demographics, including geography, gender and ethnicity. The survey, fielded June 4-9, 2005, has a theoretical sampling error of ± 3.1%.


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Robert Shalett
Director of Communications 

If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana