Skip to comments.Poll: No Role for Government in Schiavo Case
Posted on 03/21/2005 7:30:53 AM PST by Dog Gone
Mar. 21, 2005 - Americans broadly and strongly disapprove of federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case, with sizable majorities saying Congress is overstepping its bounds for political gain.
The public, by 63 percent-28 percent, supports the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube, and by a 25-point margin opposes a law mandating federal review of her case. Congress passed such legislation and President Bush signed it early today.
That legislative action is distinctly unpopular: Not only do 60 percent oppose it, more -- 70 percent -- call it inappropriate for Congress to get involved in this way. And by a lopsided 67 percent-19 percent, most think the elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved.
This ABC News poll also finds that the Schiavo case has prompted an enormous level of personal discussion: Half of Americans say that as a direct result of hearing about this case, they've spoken with friends or family members about what they'd want done if they were in a similar condition. Nearly eight in 10 would not want to be kept alive.
In addition to the majority, the intensity of public sentiment is also on the side of Schiavo's husband, who has fought successfully in the Florida courts to remove her feeding tube. And intensity runs especially strongly against congressional involvement.
Included among the 63 percent who support removing the feeding tube are 42 percent who "strongly" support it -- twice as many as strongly oppose it. And among the 70 percent who call congressional intervention inappropriate are 58 percent who hold that view strongly -- an especially high level of strong opinion.
Views on this issue are informed more by ideological and religious views than by political partisanship. Republicans overall look much like Democrats and independents in their opinions.
But two core Republican groups -- conservatives and evangelical Protestants -- are more divided: Fifty-four percent of conservatives support removal of Schiavo's feeding tube, compared with seven in 10 moderates and liberals. And evangelical Protestants divide about evenly -- 46 percent are in favor of removing the tube, 44 percent opposed. Among non-evangelical Protestants, 77 percent are in favor -- a huge division between evangelical and mainline Protestants.
Conservatives and evangelicals also are more likely to support federal intervention in the case, although it doesn't reach a majority in either group. Indeed, conservative Republicans oppose involving the federal courts, by 57 percent-41 percent.
Conservatives and evangelicals hold these views even though most people in both groups -- 73 percent and 68 percent, respectively -- say that if they personally were in this condition, they would not want to be kept alive.
Should Feeding Tube Be Removed?
Regardless of their preference on the Schiavo case, about two-thirds of conservatives and evangelicals alike call congressional intervention inappropriate. And majorities in both groups, as in others, are skeptical of the motivations of the political leaders seeking to extend Schiavo's life.
Should Federal Government Intervene?
Preference and Experience
Public views on this issue are informed in part by Americans' preferences for their own care if they were in a similar situation: Sixteen percent would want life support; as noted, 78 percent would not. While still a very large majority, that's down from 87 percent in an ABC News/Washington Poll last week.
Among people who favor removing Schiavo's life support, 94 percent say that's also what they would want for themselves. By contrast, people who oppose removing the feeding tube in Schiavo's case divide about evenly on what they'd want for themselves: Forty-five percent would want life support, 41 percent would not.
Some speak from experience: A third of Americans say they've had friends or family members who passed away in a hospital or other care facility after life support was removed; nearly two in 10 say they were personally involved in that decision. People who've been personally involved in such a decision are more apt than others to support removing Schiavo's feeding tube and to say they personally would not want life support.
Age and Attention
There are differences among age groups. Senior citizens are more apt than others to strongly support removing Schiavo's feeding tube, and also more apt to oppose federal intervention. And young adults are less likely to say that, as a result of the Schiavo case, they've discussed their own wishes with family or friends.
Just under six in 10 Americans are closely following the Schiavo case, including 16 percent who've been following it very closely -- a respectable albeit not overwhelming level of public attention. Young adults, age 18 to 29, are less than half as likely as their elders to be following the case closely -- just 27 percent are doing so. There's an irony in that result: Schiavo herself was stricken at age 26.
This ABC News poll was conducted by telephone March 20, 2005, among a random national sample of 501 adults. The results have a 4.5-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.
Those supporting life in this case have been no more intolerant here than those supporting the removal of the feeding tube.
More polls will come out this week. If, as I suspect, they confirm this one, watch the congresscritters backtrack furiously. It'll be a big game of "cover-yer-ass".
Gosh. I hadn't quite thought of it that way.
What kind of question is that? She simply made statements to her husband and others (including her best friend) that she would not want to live that way.
You get this little thrill, don't you, about using the phrase "STARVED TO DEATH"?
First off, she feels no pain. She has no brain left. Second, let me ask you a question. If she had a living will, just how would YOU go about fulfilling her wishes.
What? STARVED TO DEATH would be OK then? Is that what you're saying?
Aside from the shrieking demands for mass ZOTting of all dissenters, that is.
I've scanned across several of these threads. The husband's supporters have been just as agressive as Terri's. If you can't take it, then don't dish it out. It sounds like whining.
Ever forget to repay a loanshark?
The religious right had BETTER deliver the votes after this, or the rest of the GOP is going to be looking for some bones to break.
There is not record of what is claimed, until years later, and not one of them is a bllod family member. If one were sitting in a will hearing about who gets the house and family heirlooms, the word of three non-blood family members would not be sufficient.
This is a copy of the orginal testimony some 2 years after Terry's accident. Micheal would later testify to something completely different:
Testimony of Michael Schiavo, Medical Malpractice Trial
Q. Why did you want to learn to be a nurse?
MS. Because I enjoy it and I want to learn more how to take care of Terri.
Q. You're a young man. Your life is ahead of you. When you look up the road, what do you see for yourself?
MS. I see myself hopefully finishing school and taking care of my wife.
Q. Where do you want to take care of your wife?
MS. I want to bring her home.
Q. If you had the resources available to you, if you had the equipment and the people, would you do that?
MS. Yes, I would, in a heartbeat.
Q. How do you feel about being married to Terri now.
MS. I feel wonderful. She's my life and I wouldn't trade her for the world. I believe in my marriage vows.
Q. You believe in your wedding vows, what do you mean by that?
MS. I believe in the vows I took with my wife, through sickness, in health, for richer or poor. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that.
(Note: In January of 1993, a jury awarded Michael $350,000 for loss of consortium, and $750,000 went into a medical trust for all of Terri's future rehabilitative care, which was based on the testimony of Michael stating that he wanted to care for Terri for the rest of his life. If Terri should die, Michael would inherit the balance of the trust fund. Not only did Mr. Schiavo not provide Terri with rehabilitation, he has denied his wife any and all therapy, against Doctors' recommendations, since the 1993 malpractice award.)
Past history indicates that the bone-breakers wil be busy, then. The RR's don't have a good payment record. Mostly, they just demand something else.
I just hope Karl Rove is laying down the law to a bunch of these folks soon. The problem is, the general public doesn't have a long memory on this - and these folks DO have a long memory when it comes to slights - both real and perceived.
People have to win primaries to get to the general election. The GOP is getting caught in a similar dynamic that the Dems are already facing. A Democrat like Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt, folks who are still hawkish on the war on terror, can't get past the primary. Why? The base voters there wanted a Howard Dean or John Kerry, because they oppose the war on terror.
The thing is, reasonably competent people like Condi Rice or Rudy Giuliani will face similar problems from pro-life folks in a primary - even though they could probably win the general election in a landslide.
I really think this issue is a wash - the Democrats have their own extremists, and they could easily overplay that hand. More or less, it does present a TON of pressure to deliver on bigger issues.
Oh, and the pro-lifers had better deliver, OR ELSE there will be some SERIOUS repercussions for the GOP.
Well, I couldn't respond because I got ANOTHER phone call from an irate friend. SHe's as conservative as they come and joined with me volunteering at RNC headquarters prior to the election. She is NOT pleased right now and neither is her husband and his co-workers.
And as I was reminded by another freeper this morning, think about how many more judges we're going to have to hire to litigate these matters going forward? And the hospital bills which most families cannot afford and so the goverment will pick up. Prepare for higher taxes and insurance premiums. Big time.
Oh please. We'll never know now since she has no brain left to tell us. We know what they WERE, and that's got to be good enough.
What kind of a lame argument are you trying to make?
Why is what you would want relevant? Most religious people believe that God is in charge here, and that He commands that we love one another. Providing nourishment and hydration falls in the category of love. And, it's not even as though the taxpayer were going to have to foot the bill, as her parents are ready, able, and willing to do so.
People are making this case far more complicated than it is-- do we allow her loved ones to give this woman food and water, or do we disallow it? The answer to this question speaks volumes about us as a society.
Food, water, oxygen it's all the same you die without them. The controversy is the question of whether she is actually "here" or are they just holding her shell hostage using human technology. Seems others may have their own agendas also.
"Past history indicates that the bone-breakers wil be busy, then. The RR's don't have a good payment record. Mostly, they just demand something else."
Oh you moderate nobles, slur with the best of them, look out evolution time to end that government funded religion.
I think that the vast majority do not know enough about the case to have an opinion. But anybody can answer a poll.
I think this poll is bogus. People I know who I'd never expect to be upset about this are livid.