Castleton Poll Examines Vermonters' Views on End of Life Issues

The Castleton Polling Institute at Castleton recently polled Vermonters on a number of issues related to public policy. The results of this poll will be released over the coming week to help clarify public opinion on gun control, wind energy, single-payer health care, and the use of cell phones while driving. In addition, the Polling Institute asked Vermonters to weigh in on the issue that is called "death with dignity" by some and "physician-assisted suicide" by others. We asked respondents, "Would you favor or oppose legislation allowing someone who is terminally ill to take prescribed medicine to end his or her life?"

Overall, 68 percent of Vermont adults say that they would favor such legislation, while less than a quarter of all respondents (22 percent) oppose it; 9 percent say that they don't have an opinion on the matter. When we asked the same question of registered voters in May 2012 in a poll for WCAX/WDEV/Vermont Business Magazine, 72 percent of registered voters expressed support for such legislation. In the current poll, registered voters are more likely to support the legislation than are those who are not registered to vote, by a margin of 5 percentage points.

While a strong majority of Vermonters today say that they support such legislation, Vermont seniors (those aged 65 or older) are less likely to support the legislation (54 percent) than the general public. There are no significant differences in views on this legislation between men and women or among those with different levels of education.

End of Life Poll Results

The data in this poll are based on 620 completed interviews, 130 of which were respondents reached by cell phone. The interviews were conducted between February 6 and February 17, 2013. For a sample of this size, the margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/-3.9 percent, although the margin of error is larger for questions involving subsamples of respondents. While sampling error is only one source of potential survey error, precautions have been taken to minimize other sources of error for this poll.

On Thursday, February 21, we will release data reflecting Vermonters' attitudes on gun control. Next week, the Polling Institute will share findings related to wind energy, health care, and cell phone use while driving. All data findings will be made public on the Polling Institute's web site.

For more information about this poll or any of the work of the Castleton Polling Institute, please contact:
The Institute's Director
Rich Clark at 802-468-1306

Review full results