Nurses' Values and Perspectives on Medical Aid in Dying: A Survey of Nurses in the United States, Feb. 1, 2022
Most nurses would care for a patient contemplating medical aid in dying (86%) and fewer during the final act of medical aid in dying (67%).
Personally, 49% would support the concept of medical aid in dying, and 57% professionally as a nurse.
Nurses who identified as Christian were less likely to support medical aid in dying. Only 38% of Christian nurses felt that patients should be required to self-administer medications; 49% felt medical aid in dying should be allowed by advance directive.
Susquehanna Polling & Research Poll, November 2021
Voters are more than 8 times “more likely” (51%) than “less likely” (6%) to vote for a candidate for the state legislature if they sponsor or support medical aid-in-dying legislation.
The remaining voters surveyed said a state legislative candidate’s position on the issue had “no impact” (29%) on their voting preference, were “not sure” (8%), or opted to “decline to answer the question” (6%).
Two out of three voters (67%) nationwide said if they “had an incurable, terminal illness, still had a sound mind, had less than six months to live, and … met the legal requirements,” they “would want the option of medical aid in dying,” with majority support of 61% or more in all six regions.
This majority support for personally wanting the option of medical aid in dying includes every demographic group measured in the survey, including geographic region, political party, political philosophy, religious affiliation, ethnicity, gender identity, education level and age range:
Midwest voters: 61%
Western voters: 62%
Northeast voters: 66%
Southern voters: 66%
North Central voters: 69%
Southwest voters: 79%
Self-identified independents/others: 63%
Self-identified Republicans: 68%
Self-identified Democrats: 70%
Progressive/liberal voters: 59%
Conservative voters: 66%
Moderate voters: 70%
All other political philosophies: 69%
African American voters: 62%
White voters: 67%
Hispanic/Latino voters: 70%
All other ethnicities: 65%
Muslim voters: 53%
Catholic voters: 66%
Protestant voters: 66%
Jewish voters: 83%
All other faith/non-religious voters: 69%
Male voters: 65%
Female voters: 68%
Voters up to some college education: 72%
Voters with a 2-4 year degree: 63%
Voters with a postgraduate degree: 66%
Voters 18-44 years old: 70%
Voters 35-44 70%
Voters 45-54 years old: 57%
Voters 55-64 years old: 69%
Voters 65 years of age or older: 67%
Gynecologic Oncology survey, August 2021
The majority of respondents (69%) believed medical aid in dying should be legal.
Respondents reporting medical aid in dying was either illegal or of unknown legal status in their state were asked if they would provide medical aid in dying if it was legal in their state; 36% of this group indicated they would provide the service, 30% would not, and 34% were uncertain.
Conclusions: Medical aid in dying is a highly relevant topic for gynecologic oncologists and their patients. Support exists among gynecologic oncologists for legalizing and providing medical aid in dying more broadly.
Medscape Oncology Ethics Report 2020
When asked “should physician assisted dying be made legal for terminally ill patients?” 55% of the more than 5,000 oncologists surveyed nationwide said “yes” compared to 49% in 2018.
Medscape Poll, November 2020
When asked “should physician assisted dying be made legal for terminally ill patients?” 55% of the 5,000 doctors surveyed nationwide said “yes,” compared to 28% who said “no,” and 17% who said “it depends.”
The poll concluded: “Acceptance of this concept has grown over the decade. More specialists (57%) than primary care physicians (51%) are in favor of physician-assisted dying being legal.”
Medscape’s 2010 survey asking doctors if they supported medical aid in dying showed that 46% of physicians nationwide said yes, compared to 41% who said no, and 14% who said it depends.
Alaska Research Survey, 3rd Quarter of 2017
Seven out of 10 Alaskan voters surveyed (70%) agreed that: “... a person in Alaska who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has been given a prognosis by two physicians of less than six months to live, should have the legal right to end their life on their own terms, through the use of a doctor’s prescription.”
Behavior Research Center’s Rocky Mountain Poll, November 2015
By a 2-1 margin (56% vs. 31%), adult heads of households surveyed in Arizona support a “proposed law that would allow terminally ill persons to end their own lives provided that two doctors certify that the person is terminally ill and is mentally competent. The new law would also require that the ill person administer the lethal drug themselves orally or via injection. In this way the patient would be in total control of their end of life decision.”
Adults in the 55-and-over age bracket support the legislation by more than 2-to-1 (63% vs. 25%). Younger respondents favored the plan by smaller margins.
California Health Care Foundation, Oct. 2019: Help Wanted: Californians’ Views and Experiences of Serious Illness and End-of-Life Care
Three in four Californians surveyed (75%) support the End of Life Option Act, the California state law that gives some terminally ill adults the option to take life-ending medication prescribed by a physician.
Support of this act varied by race/ethnicity (Asian Californians: 76%; Black Californians: 70%; Latino Californians: 68%; white Californians: 82%) and income (below 150% of the federal poverty line 65%; between 150% and 399% above the poverty line 71%; 400% above the federal poverty level 83%).
Colorado Presidential Election, November 8, 2016
By a 30-point margin (65% vs. 35%), Colorado voters approved the medical aid-in-dying ballot initiative, Prop. 106.
Colorado Medical Society Member Survey, February 2016
Overall, 56% of CMS members are in favor of “physician-assisted suicide, where adults in Colorado could obtain and use prescriptions from their physicians for self-administered, lethal doses of medications.”
Greenberg Quinian Rosner (GQR), March 2021
Three out of four voters surveyed (75%) support “legislation [that] will allow people with less than six months to live to request medication from their doctor that they could decide to take to end the dying process that patients find unbearable.”
The majority support for medical aid-in-dying legislation spans the age, demographic, gender identity, political, racial and religious spectrum of the survey.
Age 18 – 49: 80%
Age 50+: 73%
Mixed race/other: 64%
College educated: 79%
Non-college educated: 72%
College men: 77%
Non-college men: 69%
College women: 80%
Non-college women: 75%
People with disabilities: 65%
Roman Catholic: 69%
Total Christian: 68%
No religious affiliation: 89%
Religious services weekly or more: 53%
Quinnipiac University Poll, March 2015
By more than a 2-1 margin (63% vs. 31%), Connecticut voters polled supported “allowing doctors to legally prescribe lethal drugs to help terminally ill patients end their own lives.”
GBAO Strategies Survey, Jan-Feb 2020
By nearly a 4-1 margin (72% vs. 20 %), Delaware voters surveyed support legislation “that would give terminally ill patients with decision-making capacity the right to take medication to end their own lives.”
Majority support is consistent across the state: Wilmington (77%), New Castle County (77%), Kent County (71%), and Sussex County (69%).
Catholics (80%), Protestants (62%) and people in other religions (96%) support “allowing an adult with decision-making capacity, who is dying of a terminal disease with no hope of recovery, the right to bring about their own death.”
The survey showed majority support for medical aid-in-dying legislation by virtually every demographic group measured in the survey, including party affiliation, race, religion, gender, education level and age group.
Merriman River Group poll, Nov. 27-29, 2017
By nearly a 3-1 margin (63% yes vs. 22% no), registered Hawaii voters who said: “If the state Legislature were to bring up a revised ‘medical aid in dying’ bill again next year ,” they would support it.
A plurality of voters — and in most cases a strong majority of voters — supported medical aid in dying in every demographic group: gender, age, ethnicity, county, district, education, political party affiliation, political leaning and household income.
“There used to be a stigma associated with it [medical aid in dying], but I think that’s largely gone,” said Matt Fitch, executive director of Merriman River Group, which conducted The Civil Beat poll. “It’s supported across all four counties, both congressional districts, household income and education brackets.”
Journal of Palliative Medicine online survey, July-Oct. 2015: Multi-Ethnic Attitudes Toward Physician-Assisted Death in California and Hawaii
“Majority of study participants in California (72.5%) were supportive of PAD [physician-assisted death].”
“...all ethnic groups were equally supportive of PAD.”
“Even in the subgroups least supportive of PAD, the majority supports PAD.”
“In California, 75.6% of non-Hispanic whites, 74.3% of Asians, and 71.6% of Hispanics were in support of PAD compared to 59.6% of African Americans.”
“Within Asian Americans, Chinese were most favorably disposed toward PAD (82.7% in California), followed by Japanese (74.6% in California) and the Filipino Americans (67.7% in California).”
“It is remarkable that in both states, even participants who were deeply spiritual, a majority of 52%, were still in support of PAD.”
“The effects of gender and ethnicity did not reach statistical significance in terms of attitudes toward PAD.”
Gonzales Research & Media Services, Dec. 20-30, 2021
Nearly six of 10 Maryland voters (57%) say they “would want the option of medical aid in dying” if they “had an incurable, terminal illness, still had a sound mind, had less than six months to live and met the legal requirements.”
Nearly seven of 10 Maryland voters (69%) support this option of medical aid in dying.
When advised that 10 of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., have the option of medical aid in dying, nearly three of four of Maryland voters (73%) said Maryland should have this option.
There was majority support for Maryland having this option in every demographic measured in the survey, including age group, gender identity, party affiliation, race and region:
Democratic voters: 77%
Republican voters: 70%
Unaffiliated voters: 66%
African American voters: 68%
white voters: 76%
Baltimore city voters: 70%
Baltimore suburban voters: 72%
Eastern Shore voters: 73%
Western Maryland voters: 73%
Washington suburban voters: 75%
Voters 18-39 years old: 79%
Voters 40-49 years old: 82%
Voters 50-59 years old: 76%
Voters 60 years of age or older: 61%
Male voters: 80%
Female voters: 67%
Goucher Poll, Feb. 7-12, 2019
More than six out of 10 Maryland adults polled (62%) said they support a recently proposed policy “that would allow terminally ill patients to obtain a prescription for a fatal dose of drugs from a willing doctor. To be eligible, these patients would have to be diagnosed as having less than six months to live, be mentally competent, and self-administer the drugs.”
Support included most voters in every demographic group: registered independent voters (69%), registered Democratic voters (61%), registered Republican voters (55%), progressives (78%), moderates (63%), conservatives (47% support to 43% oppose), white voters (68%), Black voters (49% support vs. 40% oppose), other ethnic groups (62%), men (68%), women (56%), Montgomery Co./Prince Georges Co. (63%), Central Baltimore metro area (60%), outside urban corridor (63%), ages 18-34 (65%), ages 35-54, (64%), ages 55+ (56%), less than a four-year college degree (60%), four-year college degree or more (63%).
Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) survey, June-July 2016
Six out of 10 Maryland physicians (60%) supported changing the Maryland State Medical Society’s position on Maryland’s 2016 aid-in-dying legislation from opposing the bill to supporting it (47%) or adopting a neutral stance (13%).
Among the physicians surveyed who were current members of the Maryland State Medical Society, 65% supported changing the organization’s position to supporting the medical aid-in-dying bill (50.2%) or adopting a neutral stance (14.6%).
Boston Globe-Suffolk University, Nov. 2019
Seven out of 10 Massachusetts residents polled (70%) agreed that “the terminally ill [should] be permitted to end their own lives with the help of a doctor, also known as medical aid in dying.”
This majority support spanned the demographic, ethnic and geographic spectrum in the survey: male: 70%, female: 69%, western Mass. (Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester counties): 62%, northeastern Mass. (Middlesex and Essex counties): 63%, Suffolk County: 80%, southeastern Mass./Cape (Norfolk, Plymouth, Bristol, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket counties): 68%, 18-34: 75%, 35-44: 65%, 45-54: 73%, 55-64: 75%, 65+: 68%, white voters: 73%, Black voters: 64%, Hispanic voters: 50%, Asian voters: 52%.
Massachusetts Medical Society survey, Sept. 5 – Oct. 16, 2017
By a 2-1 margin, Massachusetts physicians (60%) said they strongly support (29%) or support (31%) “medical aid in dying … the practice of physicians giving terminally ill adults prescriptions for lethal medications, to be self-administered at such time as the patient sees fit” vs. oppose or strongly oppose this end-of-life care option (30%).
By a more than 2-1 margin, physicians (62%) said they strongly support (27%) or support (35%) “proposed ’aid-in-dying legislation’ in Massachusetts, ‘an Act relative to end of life options’ (House bill 1194/Senate bill 1225)” vs. oppose or strongly oppose the legislation (28%).
Purple Insights Survey, February 2014
Seven out of 10 Massachusetts voters surveyed (70%) support a proposal to allow “mentally competent, terminally ill patients with less than six months to live [to] be able to end their life in a humane and dignified manner, using prescription medications they can self-administer.”
This majority support holds across all age groups (<50: 73%, 50-64: 73%, 65+: 67%), among Catholics (64%), Republicans (61%) and disabled voters (75%).
Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner Research survey, Aug. 29 – Sept. 1, 2016
By a 51-point margin (73% vs. 22%) likely voters in Minnesota “support legislation that would authorize medical aid in dying” for mentally capable people age 18 or older with less than six months to live so they could request medication from their doctor that they could decide to take to shorten the dying process.
Legislation making the option accessible earns the support of 67% of Christians, 71% of Catholics, 93% of people who do not identify with any religion, 87% of Democrats, 76% of independents, 53% of Republicans; 61% of independents say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports medical aid-in-dying legislation.
Majority support for medical aid in dying exists in each region of the state. A legal option for medical aid in dying earns 74% support in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area and 72% support in greater Minnesota.
Minnesota State Senate Fair Poll, August–September 2016
By more than a 3-1 ratio (68% vs. 22%), Minnesotans who completed the state Senate’s questionnaire at the annual state fair agreed that: “When a mentally competent adult is dying from an incurable and irreversible medical condition that is expected to end the individual’s life within six months … this individual should be allowed to obtain from a physician a prescription for medication that may be self-administered to end that person’s life.”
Minnesota House of Representatives State Fair Poll, August – September 2016
By nearly a 3-1 ratio, (67% vs. 23%), Minnesotans who completed the state House of Representatives’ questionnaire at the annual state fair agreed that: “When a mentally capable adult is dying from a terminal illness … this adult should be allowed to receive a prescription for life-ending medication they may self-administer.”
Global Strategy Group Survey, April 2013
Seven out of 10 Montana voters polled (69%) support allowing a mentally competent adult who is dying of a terminal disease and in extreme pain to choose to end his or her life in a humane and dignified way.
Public Policy Polling, February 2021
Nearly three out of four Nevada voters (72%) support “legislation that would allow a terminally ill adult patient, with a prognosis of six months or less to live and suffering from an incurable illness, to obtain a doctor's prescription for a medication they may voluntarily take to end their life.”
Majority support included every demographic group measured, including political affiliation, race, age, christian religion and gender identity.
Independent or other party: 62%
African American Nevadans: 76%
Hispanic Nevadans: 73%
white Nevadans: 72%
Other races: 68%
Age 18-45: 73%
Age 46-65: 72%
Age 66 and older: 73%
Non-denominational Christians: 67%
Other religions: 74%
Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, February 2015
By more than a 2-1 margin (63% to 29%), New Jersey residents support a state Legislature aid-in-dying bill that “would allow terminally ill patients to obtain a prescription to end their lives.”
“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.”
A majority of New Jerseyans of all denominations and levels of religiosity would prefer to relieve pain and discomfort, even if that meant shortening their life, including Protestants (73%), Catholics (64%) and other non-Protestant residents (59%).
Research & Polling Survey, April 2012
Two out of three New Mexico voters (65%) favor “allowing a mentally competent adult, who is dying of a terminal disease, with no hope of recovery, the choice to request and receive medication from his/her physician which could bring about their own death, if there were appropriate safeguards in place to protect patients against abuse.”
Marist Poll, October 2021
New York registered voters support “legislation which would allow doctors to prescribe a drug dose to an adult who has been told they have less than six months to live so the patient can take their own life if they want to” by a 23-point margin (59% support vs. 36% oppose).
The poll shows majority support across the state (NYC: 57%, downstate suburbs: 63%, and upstate: 56%), the political spectrum (Democrats: 60%, Republicans: 55%, independents: 68%) and among both white voters (60%) and “nonwhite”voters (55%).
Siena College Research Institute, Feb. 2019
Nearly six out of 10 New York registered voters (58%) supported “legislation that would allow a doctor to prescribe lethal drugs that a terminally ill patient with demonstrated decision-making capacity would take on their own in order to end their own life.”
Medscape WebMD survey, November, 2018
New York doctors support medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option by a 30-point margin (56% vs. 26%).
By an even larger 67-20% margin, New York doctors support proposed legislation to authorize medical aid in dying.
Princeton Survey Research Associates International/Vanderbilt University, May 2015
Tennessee voters agreed by a 17-point margin (55% vs. 38%) that doctors should be permitted to assist people with painful, incurable diseases to painlessly end their lives.
Dan Jones & Associates survey, November 2015
Nearly six of 10 adult Utahns (58%) favor “some kind of ‘right to die’ law, where licensed medical personnel could help a terminally ill, mentally competent person die with allowed drugs if that person chooses.”
Republicans are divided on the issue, with 41% saying they favor “right-to-die” legislation and 50% opposed. Democrats and independents overwhelmingly prefer the idea with 90% of Democrats and 67% of independents supporting.
Of the Christian religious groups polled, there was not much of a religious divide on the question: 94% of those who say they don’t ascribe to any religion, self-described “not active” Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church members, 80% of Protestants, 79% of “somewhat active” Mormons, and 76% of Catholics favored the idea.
The only Christian religious group polled opposed to the idea were “very active” LDS Church members by a 54-38% margin.
Momentum Analysis Survey, June 2012
Seven out of 10 Vermont voters polled (70%) favor legislation allowing “mentally competent, terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to be able to end their life in a humane and dignified manner, using prescription medications they can self-administer.”
The Wason Center Surveys, State of the Commonwealth 2022
Seven out of 10 Virginia voters (70%) agreed that: “Mentally capable adults with a terminal disease who have less than six months to live should have the right to request and receive medication to peacefully end their life in consultation with an attending and consulting physician.”
Majority support for medical aid in dying spanned the survey spectrum of political affiliation, race, religion, location, voters vs. nonvoters, gender, education, income and age:
Black/African American: 54%
Christian (other than Catholics and Protestants): 64%
Northern Virginia: 76%
Hampton Roads: 72%
Larger city: 72%
Suburb near city: 79%
Town or small city: 62%
Age 18-24: 92%
Age 25-34: 83%
Age 35-44: 67%
Age 45-54: 70%
Age 55+: 65%
Age 18-44: 76%
Age 45 & older: 65%
Wason Center for Public Policy Survey, November 2020
Seven out of 10 Virginians (70%) agreed that: “Mentally capable adults with a terminal disease who have less than six months to live should have the right to request and receive medication to peacefully end their life in consultation with an attending and consulting physician.”
Majority support for medical aid in dying spanned the survey spectrum of political affiliation, race, religion, location, voters vs. nonvoters, gender, education, income and age:
No preference: 59%
White voters: 69%
Black/African American voters: 79%
Hispanic/Latino/a/x voters: 58%
Christian (other than Catholics and Protestants):: 67%
Northern Virginia: 64%
Hampton Roads: 75%
Larger city: 73%
Suburb near city: 76%
Town or small city: 66%
Age 18-24: 68%
Age 25-34: 82%
Age 35-44: 74%
Age 45-54: 68%
Age 55+: 64%
Age 18-44: 76%
Age 45 and older: 65%
Washington, D.C., Polling
Lake Research Survey, July 2015
Two-thirds (67%) of District of Columbia residents support — and 51% strongly support — the right of terminally ill adults with less than six months to live to legally obtain medication to end their lives.