A broad majority of Americans, 72%, continue to believe that doctors should be legally allowed, at a patient’s and a family’s request, to end a terminally ill patient’s life using painless means. While support for legalized euthanasia is strong across nearly all subgroups of Americans, men, young adults, Democrats and liberals are especially likely to favor it. Support drops below a majority only among weekly churchgoers.
These findings, from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll conducted May 1-10, are consistent with data from recent years. However, opinions have changed since Gallup first gauged the public’s attitudes about euthanasia in 1947 and 1950. At that point, fewer than four in 10 supported legally and painlessly ending a terminally ill patient’s life. But in 1973, when the question was next asked, a slim 53% majority were in favor.