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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 03/09/2009

Stem Cells - Back by Popular Demand

Updated, 11:15 a.m.

Eager to turn the page on downbeat coverage of the economy, President Obama appears poised to tackle an issue that's had consistent and broad public support - reversing his predecessor's restrictions on federally-funded stem cell research.

But while lifting these limits has widespread support, the move will likely further rankle some in the GOP. In a January Washington Post-ABC News poll, 59 percent of Americans said they supported loosening the current restrictions, with support topping 60 percent among both Democrats and independents. Most Republicans, however, stood in opposition (55 percent opposed; 40 percent in support).

At the same time, the issue may prove more divisive within the GOP than between Obama and the opposition. Conservative Republicans are widely against easing the restrictions (71 percent opposed), but moderate and liberal Republicans back the change by a 57 to 37 percent margin.

Here's more breakdown from the January Post-ABC poll...

Q: Do you support or oppose loosening the current restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research?

              Support   Oppose   No opinion
All adults      59        35         6

Democrats       68        26         6
Republicans     40        55         5
Independents    64        30         6

Liberal Dem.    74        21         5
Mod./Con. Dem.  63        31         6

Lib./Mod. Rep.  57        37         6
Cons. Rep.      26        71         4

By  |  11:15 AM ET, 03/09/2009

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