SurveyUSA polled 500 Kansans on behalf of KWCH. Asked “Based on what you know today, do you support or oppose embryonic stem cell research?” the research had 60% support, 32% opposition.
The poll follows suggestions that Kansas pass an amendment like the MIssouri stem cell amendment. The Wichita Eagle’s blog points out that such an amendment isn’t going to move because it requires 2/3 support in the legislature, which it won’t get.
What’s interesting is that these poll results are lower than a poll a year ago commissioned by the Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures. That poll asked a wider range of questions, and provided the respondents more information about the research. I suspect that the same set of questions would show Kansas more supportive of stem cell research now.
For instance, the KCLC poll started with an explanation:
As you may know, stem cells are special cells that have the potential to cure diseases and injuries by repairing damaged cells in a patient’s body. One type, called adult type stem cells, is found in body tissues, such as bone marrow, and discarded umbilical cords and placentas. Another type, called embryonic stem cells, can be produced by a process called S‑C-N‑T, which uses a patient’s own cell and an unfertilized human egg to make stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can also be obtained from leftover fertility clinic embryos that would otherwise be discarded.
They got 65% approval with this question:
Q4. Do you approve or disapprove of obtaining embryonic stem cells for medical research and potential cures from leftover fertility clinic embryos that would otherwise be discarded?
and 68% support for this:
Do you approve or disapprove of obtaining embryonic stem cells for medical research and potential cures using the process called S‑C-N‑T, which uses a patient’s own cell and an unfertilized human egg to make stem cells?
When you see significant shifts in opinion depending on how much information you give, it suggests that people are making up their mind when you call them, that there’s an opportunity to inform the public.
Interestingly, the major opponents to this research in SUSA’s poll were between 35 and 55, younger and older respondents had support levels of 63% and 69% respectively. African Americans were also less likely to support stem cell research, which is not surprising.
SUSA didn’t break this down by party or ideology, but there’s no way you get to 60% support without splitting the Republican vote. Typically, moderate Republican and Independent voters align with Democrats on stem cells.