The Corner

Advocacy Polling

On stem-cell research, the Washington Post keeps being suckered by it. Charles Babington and Ceci Connolly (see third item) take the latest release from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at face value. Their summary: “The poll of 800 Bush voters found that as people learned more about the science and ways to impose ethical guidelines on it, support climbed higher.” Take a look at the actual questions, and you can reformulate that: “As people are subjected to arguments for funding embryo-killing stem-cell research, some of them deeply misleading, with no rebuttals, and no mention of cloning, support increases.” No doubt that is an accurate finding, but hardly an interesting one. (The poll keeps telling respondents that stem-cell research holds the promise of a cure for Alzheimer’s, a story that has been debunked by the Post’s own Rick Weiss.) The poll spends a lot of time establishing that few Bush voters chose Bush because he has placed limits on stem-cell funding–have many people been arguing otherwise? It doesn’t tell us how many Kerry voters chose him because he wanted to lift those limits; and the whole set-up underscores the fact that even those Bush voters who do support expanded funding didn’t care enough about it to affect their vote. Why these findings are supposed to impress anyone is beyond me.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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