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.
ABC poll? Seems like they reached A LOT of Democrats.
I just wonder how much those polled actually know about this particular case? I would wager not much. I believe a poll among those who have followed this case closely for the last few months would be more telling.
The US House of Representatives, however, has clearly spoken on the side of life. Thank God for them and their integrity, well, most of them.
Same guys who projected that Gore beat Bush, and then that Kerry beat Bush.
How nice...even thought there's NO written, or video taped wish on Teri's part, so LET'S JUST ERR ON THE SIDE OF DEATH
I'd like to see a poll conducted just among those who knew what they were talking about. These results are meaningless.
No, what's really bad is that people don't understand that congress has the right and obligation to set the jurisdiction of our Federal courts.
I'm willing to bet 95% of the poeple polled here believe Terri is unconscious and in a coma, hooked up to breathing and heart apparatus, etc.
This poll is the Culture of Death on display for all. Disgusting. But not terribly surprising.
I bet the questions did not mention that:
1) the "husband" is living with his new common-law wife and kids and wants Terri out of his life for selfish reasons,
2) there is zero evidence that Terri ever said she would want her feeding tube removed, or
3) Terri is not a vegetable and in fact has been - at the express direction of her "husband" - denied therapy that would allow her to eat or progress in any way
ABC News: Yes, we can have it by Monday morning. What would you like the results to be?
"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"
Large margin and sounds like a rush job at a poll.
Call Gov Jeb Bush and demand that he take Terri into protective custody RIGHT NOW in order to investigate outstanding charges of abuse, neglect and exploitation by his very own Dept. of Children and Families.
Jeb Bush's # 1-850-488-4441 - Terri can't wait 'til 3 p.m. today.
Truth is always born in the minority of citizens, and only reaches majority status over time. In the future, a majority of citizens will look back on this as a heroic struggle. If a majority of this country truly feels this way now (that is, if the poll is accurate), I am disappointed and disgusted. But I am encouraged by the strength shown by the superior minorities.
You're probably right, but it is nevertheless telling that most people have a presumption of death before other options.
Yup. Even many conservatives who are ordinarily well-informed have passed on reading anything about this issue. Death makes people uncomfortable, particularly non-religious people, so they simply avoid the issue and will tend to side with what they perceive as the majority media opinion. Or with the courts.
I was very surprised by this poll. I would have predicted an even split or perhaps a majority in support of Terry and the congressional action.
OK that settles it heresay wins. /S
After the blanket coverage that this story has been given, I think they do know.
Ask yourself, since YOU evidently understand the story.. what would you want?
Her cerebral coretex has pretty much atrophied, replaced by CS fluid. No amount of wishing, hoping, praying, protesting, accusations of abuse, or grandstanding judges and politicians will change that.
"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."
Here's a blog concerning this polling co.:
So there's been a lot of stink lately about a recent poll that indicated that nearly 70% of Americans think Iraq was behind 9/11.
But what did that poll really say?
I looked it up. The poll was paid for by the Washington Post. It was conducted by an outfit called TNS Intersearch of Horsham, PA, between August 7 and August 11, 2003. The poll was conducted by phone, and the total number of people sampled was 1,003. The margin of error is declared to be 3%.
What was the question? The question was this: "How likely is it that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks?"
It was a multiple-choice poll. The interviewer gave the respondents a number of choices to select from, and they were instructed to choose the one that best fit their opinion.
Now, before I get to the choices, think about the question. What's your answer? Was Saddam Hussein personally involved in 9/11? That could mean a lot of things. We know that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the planning of an assassination attempt on the life of former president George H. W. Bush. We know that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. We know that Saddam Hussein was, in short, personally involved in a lot of things.
So if I were asked that question, I'd have to say that I think it's possible, but that we don't know either way.
Turns out I couldn't have given that answer. Instead, I had to choose from one of these five answers: very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely, not at all likely, or no opinion.
Sorry, Washington Post and Intersearch of Horsham, PA, but none of those answers accurately reflects my opinion. If I had to pick one of those, I probably would have settled on "somewhat likely." That's not accurate, but it's better than any of the others.
What about the results of the poll?
very likely somewhat likely not very likely not at all likely no opinion
32% 37% 15% 12% 3%
Notice anything interesting? More respondents answered "somewhat likely" than any of the other responses. In fact, more people said "somewhat likely" than said "not very likely," "not at all likely," and "no opinion" put together. Is it possible that people said "somewhat likely" when they meant "maybe?" I think it's fair to say that it's possible, yes.
In interpreting the results, though, either Intersearch or the Post added the numbers up and concluded that 69% of Americans think that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. The fallout from that proclamation is still settling.
Was it an accurate assessment? I don't think so. I don't think it accurately reflects opinions on the question. I certainly don't think that 1,000 respondents was a sufficient number to gain a good understanding of the diversity of opinions on the question. I also think the basic phrasing of the question yielded inaccurate results. How likely was it? That's an absurd way to phrase the question. A better way would have been to simply state it objectively: "Do you think Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11? Yes, probably, maybe, probably not, no."
I don't know much about statistics. I don't know much about polling. But I have what I consider to be a reasonably good nose for bullshit, and this poll stinks.
That is a BS poll.
1) People are generally ignorant of the facts, and I know for a fact that the vast majority would support federal intervention if Terri was a. not brain-dead, and b. apparently abused by her husband prior to her heart 'problem'.
2) These polls are notoriously inacurate as the past elections show.
3) Why would anyone trust ABC to get this right anyway?
I have a hunch this is quite accurate. The standard line I keep hearing is this: "If I were in that condition, I would want somebody to end my life, so I think somebody needs to end hers as well." I think this very well indicates how many seriously religious people there are in this country. Only a minority, really. And not a very big minority.
The real polls took place last week and enough got through to Congress and they acted.The Rats who voted in favor did not do so because of numbers like the ones in that poll.
Where's the poll which asked should the court decide over the wishes of her family? It is only her jackass husband who wants her killed.
Exactly. Most people I have spoken with were on the "husband's" side UNTIL they heard the facts. In every instance, they chabged their minds. It's all about cutting through the MSM bull excrement, and educating people. The MSM is as guilty as Greer.
I find it astounding that so many people are willing to allow a judicial-assisted murder.
Very few people realize that the court is ordering that a helpless woman be forcibly starved to death.
No way the vast majority of American's support starving a human to death who has no living will indicating how to deal with this situation. Her husband, who has already had two children with another woman, is telling us this is what Terri would want. Not buying it.
No, me thinks this is just another example of the MSM taking polls to create public opinion instead of reflecting it.
A 500 sample poll conducted on a Sunday?! And they believe this is reliable and valid enough to turn into a news story?!
I really do not believe this poll. Maybe, but I doubt it strongly.
Most Americans don't follow anything too closely. My gut feel is that they treat the case as if she were on life support and the husband wants the plug pulled, which is not the case.
I think the reason for the 'strong' opinions are people's fears that the government will get in the way of families' ability to handle these issues themselves as they see fit. In fact, I have seen posters here on FR saying that loved ones should never have the right to make such a decision.
The answer would be sobering indeed!
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
The judge has scheduled his hearing for 3 p.m. Right AFTER Limbaugh goes off the air. Hmmm...
I'll bet most of the calling was done between the hours from 8 AM to noon.
There is too much of an echo chamber here on FR and we tended to only hear one side. Long time conservative FReepers were shouted down if they dared to suggest anything other than Federal involvement. The American public does not support this midnight coup détat on the constitution.
The Congress has seriously overreached itself. Once more facts become known, and the wild hyperbole, conspiracy theories, and propaganda die down, there will be a LOT of embarassed lawmakers scrambling to recover.
The GOP is facing a huge fight within itself because of this.
In one breath the Dems say that the Republicans are only puching this for political gain...in the next breath they are saying that 2/3 of the American people are opposed to govt intervention - so which is it, Dems?
I think that many people who are religious and believe in the afterlife feel that it is better for the person to die and go on to a better place than suffer. If it were me I would rather be left to die, I wouldn't want to be alive just for the sake of being alive. If I couldn't have a productive, active life, what is the point? I wouldn't want to be a burden to my family. I'm sure I'll get blasted by several Freepers out there, that's OK. This is just my own personal opinion.
Well, Well, Well!!
Another left wing looney has all the answers. When will people like these see a little light and admit defeat. They lost the 2000 electon, the 2004 election and now the Terri Schiavo death wish on their part. Don't people like ths make you sick???
I am still waiting for some of these looneys to deprive themselves of food and water to demonstrate that they are "Right" and that Terri will not suffer.
And, where were these people when Clinton LIED to a federal Grand Jury
Forget it. It's NOT about Terry, never was. It IS about keeping someone alive no matter what. Period. God's Will. Of course, I am SURE that 90% of the people HERE would NOT want to be in Terry's shoes and if they were, would not like it one bit.
Nothing like dignity and quality of life, right?
Unless you are an INDEPENDENT doctor...not hired by either side of her family... and have PERSONALLY examined her, you don't KNOW THE FACTS either!
4.5 point error margins are slightly worse than coin tosses.
The poll also does not ask the right questions in regards to the situation. And, if the poll is so accurate, why are the democrats basically not putting up a fight? Why are the democrats in the senate just allowing this vote? The answer is because they know its a losing issue.