Almost two-thirds (63%) of New Jerseyans support the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act compared to 29% who oppose it, according to today’s Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. The Assembly last year passed the bill, which allows terminally ill patients to obtain prescription drugs to end their lives. Now it awaits action by the Senate.
According to the poll, regardless of their personal feelings on the legality of assisted suicide, 63% believe that ending one’s own life is morally acceptable for the terminally ill. Thirty-two percent consider such a measure morally unacceptable.
While Gov. Chris Christie has expressed “grave concerns” over the bill, 58 percent of Republicans, as well as 64 percent of both Democrats and independents, favor the proposed legislation.
“This is not really a partisan issue in New Jersey,” said Ashley Koning, manager of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. “Though a difficult subject for many, the issue has widespread support and acceptance here. Public opinion is mainly on the bill’s side.”
Sixty-three percent also say that if they had a life-threatening illness, they would rather relieve pain and discomfort, even if it meant not living as long, while 29 percent would choose the alternative – living a longer life even if it meant more pain. When the poll last explored the subject in 2000, 70 percent of residents sided with the former and 20 percent with the latter.
Results are from a statewide poll of 813 residents contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Feb. 3-10, 2015, with a margin of error of +/-4.1 percentage points. Interviews were done in both English and, when requested, Spanish.