Public opinion on stem cells

The New Atlantis has an article on public opinion regarding stem cell research.  Two results stand out.  First, people are strikingly ignorant, especially those who think they are not:

In fact, professed familiarity with stem cell research in the prior question turned out to be a leading indicator of actual ignorance with respect to this question of therapeutic uses. Almost 40% of those who claimed some knowledge about the research in the earlier question believed, incorrectly, that embryonic stem cells had yielded therapeutic results.

Second, people’s opinion on embryonic stem cell research depends largely on the way the question is framed.  When phrased to emphasize potential cures for diseases, embryonic stem cell research is supported by a margin of 54%-39%.  However, when phrased in terms of ethics, it is opposed by a margin of 62%-33%.  Other phrasings gave results in the middle.

There’s material there for anyone to cherry-pick numbers to support their position, but if we can draw any honest conclusion, it’s that most people don’t know what’s going on.

(Via the Corner.)

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