Majority of Americans Oppose Forced Starvation, Poll Finds

The majority of Americans are not in favor of denying food and water to terminally ill patients with no written directive, according to a poll taken after Terri Schiavo’s death.

The poll, conducted by Zogby International on behalf of the Christian Defense Coalition, found that 80 percent of likely voters believe a disabled person who is not terminally ill or in a coma, has no written directive, and is not dependent on life support, should not be denied food and water.

The same poll also found that a majority of Americans believe Schiavo’s husband Michael should have “turned legal guardianship for the severely-disabled woman over to her parents based on his decision to have a long-term serious relationship with another woman,” according to Zogby.

The results from the March 30 to April 2 poll stand in contrast from what several unofficial polls found last month while the battle over Terri Schiavo’s fate was at its height.

Meanwhile, likely voters in the survey were closely divided on a number of other critical issues pertaining to the Schiavo battle.

When asked if it is proper for federal officials to intervene when disabled people are denied food and water by a state court judge, respondents were deadlocked, with 44% favoring such intervention, and 43% opposed.

Zogby International conducted interviews of 1019 likely voters nationwide from their headquarters in Utica, N.Y. The margin of error is +/-3.2 percentage points, according to the group. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, and gender to more accurately reflect the voting population. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.