News-Medical.Net 74 percent of Americans support call for the Bush White House to lift restrictions on stem cell research
Posted By: News-Medical in Medical Research News
Published: Wednesday, 16-Jun-2004


By a decisive margin of 74-21 percent, Americans support former First Lady Nancy Reagan's call for the Bush White House to lift restrictions on stem cell research in order to look for possible treatments for the Alzheimer's disease that afflicted former President Ronald Reagan prior to his recent death, as well as the other grave illnesses - including diabetes, Parkinson's, heart disease and multiple sclerosis - that are suffered by millions of other Americans, according to a new survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) on behalf of the Results for America (RFA) project of the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute.

The first opinion survey of public attitudes about stem cell research to be conducted since the death of President Reagan also found that 72 percent of Americans say they are more likely in the wake of Reagan's passing to support stem cell research, including 76 percent of moderates, 64 percent of conservatives and 62 percent of fundamentalist or evangelical Christians. Also, Nancy Reagan's clout in the national stem cell debate appears to have risen sharply, with 80 percent of Americans viewing her as credible on the issue, up from 65 percent in a separate survey conducted during March 2004 in 18 key states.

Civil Society Institute President Pam Solo said: "We now can say with certainty that the death of Ronald Reagan is altering the course of the national dialogue about stem cell research. When almost three out of four Americans say that they are more likely to support stem cell research after the death of President Reagan, what you are witnessing is a fundamental shift in the way that average Americans think about this issue."

ORC Senior Research Manager Wayne Russum said: "What you see here is really about as close to bipartisan and pan-religious agreement as you can get in American today on any topic. Three in four Americans (74 percent) support Nancy Reagan's call for the White House to lift restrictions on stem cell research to search for a possible cure for Alzheimer's disease and other grave illnesses. That high level of support for the former First Lady's view on this issue translates into a solid majority of conservatives (62 percent), fundamentalists/ evangelicals (62 percent) and moderates (79 percent)."

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