New Poll: New Jersey Voters Overwhelmingly Support Death With Dignity

Support strong among divergent interest groups; issue transcends party lines and religion
April 24, 2013

A recent public opinion survey conducted by Momentum Analysis, a public opinion research firm based in Washington, D.C., shows strong support among New Jersey voters for death with dignity both as a personal option and as legislation.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) support allowing mentally competent, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to receive a prescription for medication to end their suffering. Support is very deep, with nearly half (49%) strongly in favor of supporting death with dignity. Majorities across party lines and religions support death with dignity.

“This poll shows that opinions about death with dignity among New Jersey voters are for the most part consistent with public opinions in other states throughout the country,” said Mark Dann, New Jersey Campaign Manager for Compassion & Choices. “Regardless of race, religion, political affiliations or socio-economic conditions, people in New Jersey value their right to have end-of-life choices and to preserve their dignity in the instances of terminal illness,” Dann added.

Nearly two-thirds of New Jersey voters (65%) want the legal option for a peaceful death if they are terminally ill; far fewer report they would not want this option (25%). Majorities across party, racial, regional, gender, socio-economic status and other groupings report they want to have this option for a measure of control in their own life.

“It’s not everyday you see an issue with such widespread support across demographic groups,” said Margie Omero, President of Momentum Analysis, the firm that conducted the survey. “Voters don’t just support death with dignity legislation, but as an option for themselves personally. That’s very powerful.”

“A good death is not a failure of medical care.  It is a goal that probably most of us will strive to achieve when the time comes,” said Dr. Stacey Bachrach of Flemington, NJ. “Legislative measures offering comprehensive end-of-life options will help make this goal a reality for more New Jerseyans.”

Support for death with dignity is favorable among New Jersey voters who also support Pope Francis (51%), among those who support the Right to Life Movement (46%) and among those who support Governor Christie (67%).

The Death with Dignity Act (Assembly Bill No. 3328 and Senate Bill No. 2259) was introduced in New Jersey in the fall of 2012. In February 2013, the Assembly Health Committee released the bill with a favorable 7-2-2 vote.

This poll results are based on a survey of 601 likely November 2013 voters in New Jersey. The survey, commissioned by the national non-profit Compassion & Choices, was conducted by telephone during March 20-24, 2013. Voters from the state voter file with a history of voting in odd-year elections were contacted and further screened to include only likely voters. The margin of error for the sample overall is +/-4.1 percentage points.

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