blog Time Hath Found Us: Mystery Poll: Republicans Back Embryonic Stem Cell Research

May 12, 2005

Mystery Poll: Republicans Back Embryonic Stem Cell Research

I hate commenting on polls, but somebody has to do it. An AP report issued on Tuesday May 10, states that a poll shows that 57% of Republicans support embryonic stem cell research while 40% oppose it. The poll was conducted by David Winston, a Republican pollster, using a sampling of 800 Republicans nationwide.

Being an AP report, the usual "maverick" Republican was quoted.
"Anytime you see a poll like that, that's a strong preference," said Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., the leading supporter of stem cell research. "Members of Congress understand polls. I think the other thing that's important is who takes polls."

Dyuuhh Yup! Who takes the polls is important, but then again, where they shove them afterward is more important. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy that members of congress understand polls. What makes me nervous are the ones who base their decisions on the polls they so thoroughly understand instead of using their own heads and knowledge. We are a constitutional republic not a democracy. The original idea was that we elect people to congress so they can make decisions on issues they've had time to study. Things which the average Joe and Jane can't bone up on themselves. But I digress.

The reason I hate commenting on polls is that, like statistics, poll results can be interpreted in many different ways, see: Mystery Pollster. What set off alarms about this poll was the absence of any references to the actual poll. Things like what kind of republicans were polled - were they self-identified, registered voters, likely voters, what? This probably isn't a major issue but I was not able to find any info on the poll. Also, what questions were asked? That is always nice to know. Were the poll respondents young, old, middle aged, white, black, rich poor, educated, doctors, lawyers or Indian Chiefs? No info whatsoever. I couldn't even access the Winston Group web page. I'm sorry, when the AP reports, with glee, on something which elates the left I just get suspicious.

Finally, maybe the poll is on the up and up - it very well may be. If so, then it tells me that the differences between embryonic and adult stem cell issues has not been well communicated. I am an optimist about the people of this country and I know they value human life. There are big ethical, moral and practical differences between the two types of stem cells.

Here is a version of the news report by LIFENEWS.COM which is not so left leaning.