Virginia Commonwealth University Release: More Americans Than Ever Support Embryonic Stem-Cell Research; Unsure If It's Better Than Other Types Of Stem-Cell Research, VCU Life Sciences Survey Shows
RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- More Americans than ever -- 58 percent -- support embryonic stem-cell research, but only 14 percent believe it holds the greatest promise for curing diseases compared with other types of stem-cell research, according to the fifth annual Virginia Commonwealth University Life Sciences Poll released Monday.
The number of Americans that supports embryonic stem-cell research was up from 53 percent in the 2004 survey and 47 percent in 2003. The 2005 survey also showed that opposition to human cloning is still strong, with 81 percent of Americans either somewhat or strongly opposed to human cloning.
The VCU Life Sciences Survey was conducted by telephone with 1,002 adults nationwide from Sept. 14 through Sept. 29. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The poll also showed that most Americans support the use of embryonic stem cells to treat certain medical conditions for themselves or for family members. In addition, the poll showed no strong consensus among Americans on the origin of biological life, a first-time question for the VCU Life Sciences Survey.
Regarding stem-cell research, most Americans -- 66 percent -- are either very clear or somewhat clear on the difference between stem cells that come from human embryos; stem cells that come from adults; and stem cells that come from other sources, such as an umbilical cord. Thirty-two percent are either not very clear or not at all clear.
When asked which types of stem-cell research offered the greatest promise for discovering new treatments for disease, the greatest number of respondents, 37 percent, felt that research using stem cells from other sources, such as an umbilical cord, held the greatest promise. Fourteen percent indicated stem cells from embryos; 7 percent believed adult stem cells offered the most promise; and 7 percent felt all three types held equal promise. Twenty-seven percent of respondents indicated they did not know.
Regarding human cloning, the American public continued to show its strong opposition, with 81 percent of respondents reporting that they either strongly or somewhat oppose cloning. That number was 83 percent in last year's survey.
Two-thirds of Americans -- 67 percent -- said that were not very clear or not at all clear on the difference between human reproductive cloning and human therapeutic cloning. Thirty-three percent are either very clear or somewhat clear. Among those who are not very or not at all clear about the difference between therapeutic and reproductive cloning, 65 percent strongly oppose cloning, compared with 66 percent in the 2004 survey.
Among those who identified themselves as very clear or somewhat clear about the difference between therapeutic and reproductive cloning, 60 percent strongly opposed cloning, down from 67 percent in the 2004 survey.
Respondents also were asked if they would support the use of embryonic stem cells in order to treat themselves or a family member for a condition such as Parkinson's Disease or a spinal cord injury. A little over two-thirds, 68 percent, said they would support the use of embryonic stem cells to treat these types of conditions, while 17 percent said they would not.
New to the VCU Life Sciences Survey this year were questions regarding the origin of biological life. Respondents were polled on their views on the origin of biological life, which are often referred to as creationism, intelligent design and evolution.
Forty-two percent of respondents indicated that creationism came closest to their views on the origin of biological life, while 26 percent indicated intelligent design and 17 percent evolution. In addition, the survey offered various options for which theory, or combination thereof, should be taught in public schools. Forty-seven percent favored a combination of approaches, and of that group, 59 percent believed all three should be taught.
The poll and its methodology are posted online at http://www.vcu.edu/uns/Releases/2005/oct/102405a.html.
About VCU and the VCU Medical Center: Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, Va., Virginia Commonwealth University is ranked nationally by the Carnegie Foundation as a top research institution and enrolls more than 28,500 students in more than 181 certificate, undergraduate, graduate, professional and doctoral programs in the arts, sciences and humanities in 15 schools and one college. Forty of the university's programs are unique in Virginia, and 20 graduate and professional programs have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best of their kind. MCV Hospitals, clinics and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University compose the VCU Medical Center, one of the leading academic medical centers in the country. For more, see http://www.vcu.edu.Virginia Commonwealth University
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