YouGov Poll: New Yorkers Overwhelmingly Support Death with Dignity Law Majority Support Among Every Demographic Across New York

Portland, Oregon, February 8, 2024 – New York State citizens support medical aid in dying (MAID) by a 72%-23% margin, according to a new poll released today by YouGov. Every single demographic tested, from age to religion to political affiliation – and including every region of the state – supports the proposed law to give terminally ill patients the right to request and receive medication to peacefully end their life.

Coming just a week after the New York Bar Association endorsed the proposed legislation, this poll showing more than 7 in 10 people support MAID should serve as further proof to the Legislature that now is the time to pass S2445a/A995a, the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act. 

“Especially in these political times, to see such strong support from every single faction of society is remarkable and should be a clear indication to the New York Legislature that now is the time to give dying patients the right to control their own end-of-life decisions,” said Dr. Peg Sandeen, CEO of Death with Dignity. 

Along with the Completed Life Initiative, Death with Dignity commissioned the poll conducted between Jan. 18 and Jan. 31, 2024.

“In the many years of fighting for a Medical Aid in Dying bill, support has continued to grow among New Yorkers for this compassionate end-of-life option,” said Health Committee Chair Assemblymember Amy Paulin who has been the chief Assembly sponsor for the bill since it was first introduced. “People have realized that this is a common-sense piece of legislation which preserves the autonomy and dignity of dying New Yorkers during the most vulnerable stage of their lives. I think this realization is at the core of why more of my colleagues in Albany are becoming sponsors of the bill, and why the most recent polling shows it has across-the-board support from New Yorkers.”

Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, the bill’s chief sponsor in the Senate said: “I’m gratified to learn that nearly three-quarters of New Yorkers support medical aid in dying. It’s clear that New Yorkers understand that we should have greater control over end-of-life decisions when confronting a terminal illness. Combined with greater support for hospice care, the Medical Aid in Dying Act will help reduce needless suffering and provide peace of mind for countless individuals and their loved ones. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues and advancing this bill in the State Senate this legislative session.”

“What this poll demonstrates is the broad support for medical aid in dying across every corner of New York State, and among so many of its residents,” said Professor David Hoffman, Board Secretary of the Completed Life Initiative. “With all of the momentum behind the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act, legislators can see just how important this bill is to New Yorkers.”

“So many issues divide New Yorkers by partisanship, but that is not the case for the proposed law on medical aid in dying,” added Alissa Stollwerk, Vice-President at YouGov. “It is rare to see an issue that enjoys such majority support across partisanship and various demographic groups.” 

For decades now, as states across the country have considered MAID laws, opposition has typically come from the Catholic Church and groups purporting to represent people with disabilities. This poll, as well as many others, continues to show support among Catholics (65%) and people with disabilities (78%), clearly showing just how out of touch these opponents are with members of their own demographic group.

“People have become much more aware of the plight they may face in the final days or weeks of a terminal disease. They want the right to control their own end-of-life decisions, and they do not believe that someone else’s religious beliefs should trump their right to make their own decisions,” added Dr. Sandeen. “This is an issue of personal autonomy and the state should not be interceding between the doctor-patient relationship, especially when it is a completely voluntary process for all those involved.”

The actual question asked of respondents:

“Currently, the New York Legislature is considering a bill, the New York State Medical Aid in Dying Act, that would allow a terminally ill patient – for whom two doctors have determined has under six months to live – the right to request and receive a prescription for medication to end their life. This would only be an option for patients who are acting voluntarily, capable of making their own healthcare decisions, and are able to self-administer the medication. Would you support or oppose this law?”

Find the full results at DeathwithDignity.org/NY-POLL-2024

For media inquiries, please contact Elia Lawatsch: press@deathwithdignity.org.