Human Exceptionalism

New Harris Poll Not Good News For Assisted Suiciide Supporters

A new poll has just come out from Harris demonstratingas I suspected–based on all of the the non mass demonstrations, the non mass letter writing campaigns, and the near complete absence of politicians running for office on the issue–assisted suicide is not a wildly popular issue. The poll shows that only 39% support “physician-assisted suicide” while 31% oppose with 21% neutral.

One might say that the pros still outnumber the opposition. But the 21% neutral are more likely to become opponents when the issue is dealt with in depth. (I say this because in all of the voter referenda that have been held, support always dropped precipitously as the campaign progressed, even in Oregon where it won with 51% despite initially leading in the polls in the high sixties.) Or to put it another way, when a change as radical as legalizing assisted suicide is attempted, supporters need more initial agreement to carry the day since those in doubt will tend to vote no.

Some might object to my analysis claiming that the poll is interactive, an on-line survey of people who have agreed to participate in the analysis. But I believe it is close to the mark on this issue. Recall just a month ago the Gallup Poll, which we discussed here at SHS, showed that 49% thought assisted suicide was moral versus 44% that thought it was immoral. (Hit this link for my analysis of that data.)

The bottom line is that in my fourteen years of involvement with this issue, I have found that most people do not put a lot of thought and emotion into supporting or opposing assisted suicide. This means that fewer people can have a greater impact, and we in the opposition camp must be ever vigilant and energetic in our advocacy to maintain a Hippocratic medical system. So far, commitment is making the difference (as in California) in this issue about which most people are simply not engaged.