On March 8th, 9th, and 10th, ICM (a national organization which does extensive research for the British media) conducted telephone and online opinion polls throughout the UK. As in previous years, this poll was commissioned by the Society for Old Age Rational Suicide (SOARS). In the telephone poll (of 1,002 adults), 78 percent agreed that a mentally competent adult, who is terminally ill, should legally receive a physician’s assistance to die. And, of great importance to SOARS, 70 percent supported the possibility of similar assistance being provided to very elderly individuals suffering unbearably from a variety of medical problems, if this is their persistent request.
In March 2011, in similar ICM polls, 66 percent supported the idea of old age rational suicide, and, in July 2010, the figure had been 67 percent. In the March 2013 ICM online poll (of 2,000 adults), 71 percent agreed with terminally ill adults being assisted to die; and 60 percent were in favour of old age rational suicide.
Two possible explanations for less support, from online polling, are that those participating in such surveys are considering the legal and moral implications more carefully, and that the lack of an interviewer (as in telephone polls) removes any pressure to give a socially correct response.
The full results of all these ICM polls can be seen on the SOARS website www.soars.org.uk