Three quarters approve of Supreme Court ruling on assisted death

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Three quarters approve of Supreme Court ruling on assisted death

6-in-10 would consider assisted death for themselves

TORONTO February 11th, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by The Forum Poll™ among 1018 Canadian voters, three days after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of legalizing physician assisted dying, more than three quarters approve of the ruling (78%) and as many as 6-in-10 approve “strongly” (60%). About one eight disapprove (16%), one tenth strongly (9%), and very few have no opinion (7%). Strong approval of the SCC ruling is especially characteristic of younger voters (35 to 44 - 67%), mid ($60K to $80K - 71%) and higher income brackets ($100K to $250K - 70%), in Quebec (71%), among New Democrats (67%) and Green partisans (82%), but not so much among Conservatives (50%), among Francophones (73%) and among those with no religion (78%).

Support for assisted dying has been increasing since 2011

Forum has polled approval of legalizing assisted dying (formerly described as assisted suicide) since 2011, when support stood at two thirds (67%) until the summer of 2014, when support had increased to three quarters (74%).

6-in-10 will consider assisted dying

More than six tenths of voters would consider assisted dying for themselves if they had a grievous condition or were in intolerable pain (among the conditions mentioned by the SCC - 61%). One fifth would not consider this (21%) and a similar proportion do not know if they would (18%). Among those especially likely to say they will not consider assisted dying are the oldest (29%), mid income earners ($40K to $60K - 28%), in Atlantic Canada (25%) and the prairies (26%), among Conservatives (27%), and Evangelical Christians (53% - caution: small base size).

"Canadians have been clear about their support for assistance in ending their lives since we began tracking it 4 years ago. The public was clear, but elected officials were loath to act. As in many cases of Canadian social advances, it required the Supreme Court to get the ball rolling," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.