Marquette Warrior: Zogby Poll: Americans Not in Favor of Starving Terri Schiavo

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Zogby Poll: Americans Not in Favor of Starving Terri Schiavo

The mainstream media touted polls showing that Americans favored withholding food and water from Terri Schiavo, thus guaranteeing her death.

These polls particularly gratified liberal media types, who concluded that the Republicans were going too far and branding themselves as extremists in defending Schiavo’s right to live.

But now a new Zogby Poll, with different questions, shows a very different result:
The Zogby poll found that, if a person becomes incapacitated and has not expressed their preference for medical treatment, as in Terri’s case, 43 percent say “the law presume that the person wants to live, even if the person is receiving food and water through a tube” while just 30 percent disagree.

Another Zogby question his directly on Terri’s circumstances.

“If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water,” the poll asked.

A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes.
The Zogby questions are hardly perfectly fair. They didn’t tell respondents, for example, that Schiavo was brain damaged. We think it deplorable if people believe being brain damaged is a good reason to kill someone, but Americans believe a lot of deplorable things.

A recent Fox News poll, which still showed a majority favoring pulling the feeding tube, showed that that majority diminished substantially over Schiavo’s last weeks of life. Apparently, the more the public heard, the less enthusiastic they were about killing her.

Thus it’s no accident that Democrats have been pretty quiet on the subject. They sensed, probably correctly, that there was no real national consensus for killing Terri, and that the issue might in fact hurt them politically, much as the Elian Gonzalez case did.


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