June 12 (UPI) -- Nearly three-quarters of Americans support the practice of patient euthanasia, a new survey showed Monday.
According to the Gallup poll, 73 percent of those asked said they favor euthanasia if the patient wants it.
More than 500 respondents answered during the first week of May to a question that read, "When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient's life by some painless means if the patient and his or her family request it?"
Twenty-four percent said they opposed the practice and 3 percent did not have an opinion.
The percentage of those who favored the practice rose four points from the same week last year and is the highest of any year since 2005, when 75 percent said it was OK with them.
The poll indicates that nearly 90 percent of respondents who said they attend church rarely or never favor euthanasia -- compared to 55 percent who attend weekly.
Politically, 60 percent of those who identified themselves as conservatives favored the notion, compared to 89 percent self-identified liberals.
Nearly 500 respondents were asked if they favored a physician "assisting the patient to commit suicide." Of that group, the number dipped slightly to 67 percent -- indicating a gap between those who support euthanasia and those who support physician-assisted suicide.
Support for euthanasia is nearly double what it was when Gallup first polled on the question in 1947 (37 percent). Since 1990, support has typically been in the 65-75 percent range.
More than 1,000 adults in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., were included in the survey, which has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.