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Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) activity in California

Public opinion polls

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Public opinion polls on PAS:

The Field Research Corporation in San Francisco, CA has been measuring public attitudes toward physician assisted suicide since 1979. Over the 27 years that they have monitored this topic, they have found consistent support for PAS ranging from 64% to 75%.  During their poll of 2005, support was also at 70%.

500 California adults were polled by telephone between 2006-FEB-12 and 26. margin of error is ~+mn~4.5 percentage points. 1

They were asked:

"Do you think an incurably ill patient should have the right to ask for and get medication that would painlessly end his or her life?"

Support for PAS was found among:

bullet 70% of all adults;
bullet 69% of registered voters;
bullet 80% of registered Democrats;
bullet 59% of registered Republicans;
bullet 63% of Independents;
bullet 73% of adult males;
bullet 67% of adult females;
bullet 71% of those aged 18 to 39;
bullet 70% aged 40 to 64;
bullet 64% of those 65 or older;
bullet 70% of non-Hispanic Whites;
bullet 65% of Latinos;
bullet 78% of other races
bullet 65% of Protestants;
bullet 64% of Catholics;
bullet 80% of followers of other religions or of no religious affiliation;
bullet 54% of born-again Christians; and
bullet 76% of non-born-again Christians.

They were asked:

"If you yourself were terminally ill and were expected to die within six months, would you want your doctor to be able to assist you in dying if you requested it?"

Results were:

bullet 62% of California adults said yes; 33% said no. Surveys during previous years gave positive results between 67% and 72%.
bullet 76% of Democrats said yes, as did:
bullet 51% of Republicans;
bullet 62% of Independents;
bullet 65% of adult males;
bullet 58% of adult females;
bullet 64% of those aged 18 to 39;
bullet 60% aged 40 to 64;
bullet 59% of those 65 or older;
bullet 65% of non-Hispanic Whites;
bullet 51% of Latinos;
bullet 71% of other races;
bullet 56% of Protestants;
bullet 54% of Catholics;
bullet 76% of followers of other religions or of no religious affiliation;
bullet 46% of born-again Christians; and
bullet 67% of non-born-again Christians.

They were asked:

A bill in the state legislature calls for allowing California residents who are terminally ill and declared mentally competent, and who have been evaluated by two physicians, to request a lethal prescription, which they themselves would administer to end their own lives. Do you favor or oppose this new proposed law?

Results were:

bullet Among all adults sampled, supporters outnumbered opponents by 57% to 34%. Among registered voters, the ratio was 63% to 28%.
bullet The only groups opposed to the bill were:
bullet Republicans at 47%,
bullet Latinos at 42% and
bullet Born-again Christians at 46%.

At the time of the survey, Bill AB 654 was being considered in the legislature. It is very similar to AB 374 being considered in 2007-JUN.

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  1. Mark DiCamillo & Mervin Field, "The Field Poll: Continued support for doctor-assisted suicide," 2006-MAR-15, at:

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Copyright 2007 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2007-JUN-02
Last updated 2020-JUL-03

Author: Bruce A Robinson
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