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Family Institute of Connecticut Action Press Release

Quinnipiac Poll Showing Support for Assisted Suicide is Flawed

Contact: Peter Wolfgang, Family Institute of Connecticut Action, 860-548-0066

HARTFORD, Conn., March 6, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following statement may be attributed to Family Institute of Connecticut Action president Peter Wolfgang:

    "The poll released this morning by Quinnipiac University purporting to show that 61% of Connecticut voters support legalizing assisted suicide is flawed. The poll's headline declares 'Connecticut Voters Back Suicide Bill' but the word 'suicide' was never used in the question. Poll results shift by almost 20% when people are asked if they support legalizing 'assisted suicide.' Why was the word 'suicide' used in the Q poll's headline but not in its actual question? In fact, the question was worded in a way that could give the person answering it the false impression that it is a doctor that administers the lethal drugs, rather than the patient himself.

    "Further, unlike follow-up questions, the initial question omitted the definition of  '6 months to live' when referring to 'terminally ill.' When included, personal support for such measures is drastically reduced to 33 percent. Why was the definition omitted from the first question? Most people do not oppose providing comfort measures to the terminally ill in the final days of their lives, even if such comfort measures inadvertently cause a loss of consciousness or even death. But 6 months out, providing lethal medication for those people who are very much alive, sounds an awful lot like 'assisted suicide,' which other polls have shown are opposed by people and doctors, and reflected in the subsequent questions.

    "Even taking the poll on its merits shows the people of Connecticut support assisted suicide for other people but not for themselves, contradicting the reason the assisted suicide bill has been proposed. The poll shows bias when it subsequently asks those who do not support assisted suicide for themselves if they would change their mind if they were in great pain, flipping more respondents to favor assisted suicide for themselves. But studies show that the vast majority of people who procure assisted suicide, do so for reasons other than pain. How many respondents would have been flipped in the other direction if the poll had mentioned the possibility of elder abuse or misdiagnosis of terminal illness by doctors?

    "Politicians who see in the Q poll an excuse to legalize assisted suicide should beware. The pro-assisted suicide Ballot Question 2 in Massachusetts in 2012 polled as high as 68% but was defeated on Election Day. Indeed, even if we take as valid the two flawed polls purporting to show majority support for assisted suicide in Connecticut -- Compassion and Choices' May, 2012 poll showing 67% and Quinnipiac's February 2014 poll showing 61%, then support for assisted suicide in Connecticut is actually dropping. While many people support assisted suicide upon first hearing of it, once they learn more details about it they have second thoughts."

The Family Institute of Connecticut Action is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to creating a family-friendly environment in our state. We are working to encourage and strengthen the family as the foundation of society and to promote sound ethical and moral values in our culture and government. You can learn more about the Family Institute of Connecticut Action at our web site, www.ctfamily.org, or by calling our Hartford office at (860) 548-0066 or toll-free (877) 33-FAMILY.