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Religious Tolerance logo

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 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:

bullet70% of all adults;
bullet69% of registered voters;
bullet80% of registered Democrats;
bullet59% of registered Republicans;
bullet63% of Independents;
bullet73% of adult males;
bullet67% of adult females;
bullet71% of those aged 18 to 39;
bullet70% aged 40 to 64;
bullet64% of those 65 or older;
bullet70% of non-Hispanic Whites;
bullet65% of Latinos;
bullet78% of other races
bullet65% of Protestants;
bullet64% of Catholics;
bullet80% of followers of other religions or of no religious affiliation;
bullet54% of born-again Christians; and
bullet76% 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:

bullet62% of California adults said yes; 33% said no. Surveys during previous years gave positive results between 67% and 72%.
bullet76% of Democrats said yes, as did:
bullet51% of Republicans;
bullet62% of Independents;
bullet65% of adult males;
bullet58% of adult females;
bullet64% of those aged 18 to 39;
bullet60% aged 40 to 64;
bullet59% of those 65 or older;
bullet65% of non-Hispanic Whites;
bullet51% of Latinos;
bullet71% of other races;
bullet56% of Protestants;
bullet54% of Catholics;
bullet76% of followers of other religions or of no religious affiliation;
bullet46% of born-again Christians; and
bullet67% 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:

bulletAmong all adults sampled, supporters outnumbered opponents by 57% to 34%. Among registered voters, the ratio was 63% to 28%.
bulletThe only groups opposed to the bill were:
bulletRepublicans at 47%,
bulletLatinos at 42% and
bulletBorn-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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or: Home > "Hot" topics  > Suicide menu > Assisted suicide > U.S. > CA > here

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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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