Public Opposes President Bush's Veto on Stem Cell Research Funding

by Joseph Carroll

Most feel Bush based decision on personal beliefs, not for political advantage

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Nearly 6 in 10 Americans, according to a July 21-23 USA Today/Gallup poll, disapprove of President Bush's recent veto of a bill that would have expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, marking the first presidential veto of his administration. Most Americans, however, think Bush made the decision based on his moral principles rather than an attempt to gain political advantage.

Americans' Reaction to the Veto

The poll finds that 36% of Americans approve of Bush's decision to veto a bill that would have expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, while the majority, 58%, disapproves. This is not necessarily a new or surprising finding. As Gallup senior editor Lydia Saad summarized last week [see related release], roughly 6 in 10 Americans say embryonic stem cell research is morally acceptable, and most Americans support easing restrictions on funding for research, if not eliminating the restrictions altogether.

Republicans, self-described conservatives, and those who attend religious services weekly are the groups most likely to support the president's veto.

Public Support for Stem Cell Research Funding Veto
July 21-23, 2006

Approve
of veto

Disapprove
of veto

%

%

Party Affiliation

Republicans

61

33

Independents

33

61

Democrats

19

75

Political Ideology

Conservatives

59

35

Moderates

28

66

Liberals

12

83

Church Attendance

Weekly

53

41

Nearly weekly

34

62

Seldom or never

27

66

Gallup also asked those who disapprove of the veto to describe how upset they are about the president's decision. Most of these people report that they are "very" or "somewhat" upset by Bush's decision to veto the bill. Altogether, 44% of all Americans say they disapprove and are upset by Bush's veto on this matter, including 20% who say they disapprove and are "very" upset by the decision. Fourteen percent disapprove but are not upset, and as stated earlier, 36% approve.

Personal Moral Beliefs vs. Gaining Political Advantage

The poll asked Americans to choose between two possible motivations behind Bush's veto. More than 6 in 10 Americans (61%) tell Gallup that they think Bush made the decision to veto this bill mostly on the basis of personal moral beliefs, while one in three (32%) say Bush made the decision mostly in an attempt to gain political advantage.

Republicans and Democrats differ sharply in their responses to this question. The overwhelming majority of Republicans, 83%, say Bush made this decision based on personal moral beliefs. Fifty-eight percent of independents also say the decision was made based on personal moral beliefs. Democrats, however, are divided in their views, with 45% saying it was made due to personal moral beliefs and 46% saying it was to gain political advantage. Democrats' views may be affected by an overall dislike or distrust of Bush, causing them to attribute more cynical motives to his actions regardless of what they are.

Survey Methods

The latest results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,005 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted July 21-23, 2006. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

6. As you may know, earlier this week, President Bush vetoed a bill that would have expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Do you approve or disapprove of his decision to veto this bill?

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

2006 Jul 21-23

36%

58

6

7. (Asked of those who said they disapprove of Bush's decision to veto the bill) How upset are you that President Bush vetoed this bill -- very upset, somewhat upset, not too upset, or not at all upset?

COMBINED RESPONSES (Q.6-7): BASED ON NATIONAL ADULTS

Approve

Disapprove,
upset vetoed

Disapprove,
not upset vetoed

No opinion

2006 Jul 21-23

36%

44

14

6

8. Would you say President Bush vetoed this bill -- [ROTATED: mostly on the basis of personal moral beliefs (or) mostly in an attempt to gain political advantage]?

Personal
moral beliefs

Gain political
advantage

No opinion

2006 Jul 21-23

61%

32

7

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/23902/Public-Opposes-President-Bushs-Veto-Stem-Cell-Research-Funding.aspx
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