Lydia Saad of Gallup reports on a poll that is as interesting for polling methodology as it is for the underlying question. How would you answer these two questions?
A: When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient's life by some painless means if the patient and his or her family request it?Substantially the same question, right? The two questions should produce the same result, right?
B. When a person has a disease that cannot be cured and is living in severe pain, do you think doctors should or should not be allowed by law to assist the patient to commit suicide if the patient requests it?
Wrong. Question A wins by a landslide 70-27-3, while Question B, with the emotionally loaded word "suicide," squeaks out only a bare majority, 51-45-4.