Cancer doc: Don’t abandon patients at the end of life by enabling assisted suicide

We need only look back to the 2016 election to remember that polling can often be misrepresented and requires careful scrutiny. Even when interested parties refer to their own polling as “truth,” (“5 truths about New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act,” March 27, 2019) always remember: A poll is simply a reflection of the people who actually respond to it.

Such is the case with recent “polls” conducted by the advocacy group supporting assisted suicide expansion in the United States. In the first survey of physicians, Compassion & Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society, used 600 email responses out of 78,000 licensed physicians in New York state to misrepresent that New York doctors “support” assisted suicide.

There are many problems with their method of collection as well as their representation of the results. Here are just a few.

The organization does not tell us how many actual responses they received, only the number of responses they used – no response rate nor sample size. Further, 600 responses out of 78,000 represents a remarkably low return rate for public opinion research of this type. There is no margin of error listed and the data are accompanied by only a vague methodology, signaling that this was really more like a skewed survey response of their supporters than a scientific poll conducted by a reputable institution.

An accurate representation of the “poll” would indicate that less than a quarter of responding doctors strongly support assisted suicide. A deeper read also shows that less than 20% of the doctors surveyed “strongly agree” that they would actually write a prescription for the assisted suicide drug cocktail.

Unfortunately, this recent poll is another all too common example in politics and public policy where an organization is sculpting polling results to fit their preferred conclusion.

A Siena poll was recently released that shows this issue is far more controversial than proponents would like you to believe. That survey shows that New York African-Americans, Latinos and those that self-identify as lower-income strongly oppose assisted suicide.

Read more at Syracuse.com…

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