Actor's Ad Increases Support for Stem Cell Research, Study Says

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - Actor Michael J. Fox's ad campaign in favor of embryonic stem cell research appears to be having a political effect, according to a new study.

The study conducted Oct. 24 to 25 by HCD Research and Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion shows that support for embryonic stem cell research among U.S. voters went up after they viewed the ad. Respondents were asked to view the ad and complete pre- and post-view questioning.

Support for the research -- which is controversial because early-stage embryos are destroyed in the process -- increased from 78 percent prior to seeing the ad to 83 percent after watching it, the survey found.

Among Democrats, support increased from 89 to 93 percent, while Republican support increased from 66 to 68 percent. Support among Independents grew from 80 to 87 percent.

Also, the level of concern about a candidate's stance on the research grew among all respondents - from 57 to 70 percent. Among Democrats, it rose from 66 to 83 percent. Among Republicans, it grew from 50 to 60 percent. And among independents, it rose from 58 to 69 percent.

The poll also found that the perception that the upcoming election is somehow relevant to the government's policy on stem cell research increased among all voters. Democrats' perception grew from 75 to 83 percent, Republicans' perception from 55 to 62 percent, and Independents' perception from 60 to 68 percent.

A majority of those surveyed said the ad was believable, with 76 percent saying it was "extremely believable" or "believable." Ninety-three percent of Democrats thought the ad was "believable" or "extremely believable," while 57 percent of Republicans said the same, and 78 percent of Independents agreed.

Finally, Republican respondents' support for a Republican candidate decreased by 10 percent - from 77 to 67 percent. Independents' support for Democrats grew by 10 percent - from 39 to 49 percent.

See Earlier Story:
Michael J. Fox Ads Inaccurate, Steele Says (Oct. 24, 2006)

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