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New FOX News Opinion Poll Shows Public Largely Agrees With Schiavo Judicial Decisions

Reported by Ellen - March 31, 2005

There's a new opinion poll out from FOX News and Opinion Dynamics. This one confirms the findings of other polls in that many more people view the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube as an act of mercy (54% vs. 29%%), more people (42%) agree with the decision to remove her tube while 38% disagree, more people (46%) think Terri Schiavo's husband, rather than her parents (43%) should be her guardian, 60% said there was no chance of her improving, and 43% believe she told her husband she would not want to be kept alive under those circumstances (25% did not believe she told him). This poll also shows President Bush's approval rating dropping to 49% from 52% at the beginning of March and his disapproval up from 39% to 46%. Still, the report managed to find a way to spin the news against Democrats.

In an article titled, 3/31/05 FOX Poll: Majority Sees Removal of Feeding Tube as Act of Mercy, author Dana Blanton reports the findings in language that makes it seems as if Democrats and liberals were more gung-ho to remove her feeding tube than Republicans.

Among those most likely to believe removing the feeding tube was an act of murder are blacks (50 percent), Republicans (39 percent), conservatives (38 percent) and those under age 30 (35 percent). At 67 percent, self-identified liberals are most likely to call it an act of mercy, as do clear majorities of Democrats (60 percent), men (58 percent) and independents (56 percent).

If 39 percent of Republicans believe that removing the feeding tube was an act of murder, that means that 61% don't. That's not much more than the 60% of Democrats. It's a similar situation with conservatives. If, as author Dana Blanton says, 38 percent believe removing the feeding tube is murder, than 62% don't. It appears that most people of all political persuasions think it's an act of mercy. But if you don't puzzle through the numbers (as I have learned is mandatory when reading a FOX News poll report), one would get the impression that Republicans and conservatives are much more "pro life."

The poll results included a "neither" and "not sure" option so it's possible that the numbes skewed a bit but it was impossible to find the results in the "full poll results" linked at the bottom of the page. I have long suspected that FOX does not print its full poll results, despite its usual claims that it does, but here is absolute proof. Not only is there no breakdown of party affiliation for that question (#20), nor for any of the other opinion questions, but there are gaps in the questions numbers. For example, question 28, asking about favoring or opposing the death penalty, is followed by question 47, asking for party affiliation in general.

It makes me really, really curious to know what data was in the 19 omitted questions.

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