Stem Cell Research in the Midterm Elections
|McCaskill and Talent|
This statement can be attributed to Dr. Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society:
cell research was again a contentious and high-profile topic in this
year’s elections, but in most races its effectiveness – as a wedge
issue for Democrats or a get-out-the-base issue for Republicans –
In Missouri, Amendment 2
made stem cell research a top tier issue. Backers spent a
record-shattering $30 million for a 2% margin of victory on a measure
that did little more than enshrine the status-quo stem cell research
Both Missouri Senate candidates treated
it gingerly during the campaign. The morning after Election Day,
victorious Democrat Clair McCaskill said that “it certainly wasn't the
dominating issue that the national media made it after the Michael J.
Unfortunately, the stem cell debate was colored
by the overheated and distorting rhetoric that has been heard so often
before. Voters were bombarded with misleading political ads and
hyperbolic language, and many no doubt walked away from the campaign
debate more confused than ever.
over-simplification and polarization of stem cell politics does a deep
disservice to American voters, and threatens to leave the field without
the sort of public oversight it needs. As the 2007-2008 campaign season
gets underway, we need an approach that couples support for embryonic
stem cell research with responsible policies to ensure that it is
developed in ways that are safe, equitable and affordable.
Center for Genetics and Society has compiled information and analysis
about the prominence and impact of stem cell research as a campaign
issue in 30 Senate, House, and gubernatorial races where it was
expected to play a significant role. In most of those 30 contests, a
Democratic candidate supporting embryonic stem cell research ran
against a Republican candidate who opposes it.
highlight 8 of these races: 4 in which stem cell research wound up
playing a significant role, as measured by its profile on the
candidates’ web pages and by local media coverage, and another 4 in
which expectations that the issue would be prominent turned out to be
2006 election analysis:
conducted over recent years show strong support for stem cell research
using surplus embryos created for fertility treatment (typically more
than 60%), wariness about stem cell research using cloning (SCNT)
techniques, and support for effective regulation and oversight.
Analysis of polling on stem cell and SCNT research: