May 1, 2002
Alzheimer’s Touches America
Many Say They Know Victims; Support High for Funding Research

by Gary Langer

April 30 — Six in 10 Americans support increased federal spending on research into Alzheimer's disease — partly because so many people in this country personally know someone who's suffered from the illness.

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Sampling, data collection and tabulation for this poll were done by TNS Intersearch.

An ABCNEWS poll finds that 41 percent of Americans — two out of every five adults — have a relative or close friend who has had Alzheimer's. Support for higher research funding peaks among that group, at 68 percent.

About a third of Americans go so far as to say they'd pay higher taxes for Alzheimer's research, a relatively high number given the public's perceptions of waste in government spending.

Support for higher taxes peaks, again, among people who've had a close friend or relative suffer from the disease.

A Senate subcommittee was to hold a hearing today on funding requests for Alzheimer's research.

And the Alzheimer's Association is holding a four-day forum in Washington this week, urging an increase in Alzheimer's research funding at the National Institutes of Health from $598.9 million to $1 billion annually.


Personal experience is not the only factor in views on Alzheimer's research funding. Democrats are 12 points more likely than Republicans to support higher funding.

Women are seven points more likely than men to support it. Support dips in the West and peaks in the South.

And young adults, age 18 to 34, are 15 points less likely than their elders to support increased federal spending on Alzheimer's research.

Support for Alzheimer's Research
Spend more on research Raise taxes to fund it
All 60 32%
Friend/relative has had Alzheimer's 68 41%
No friends or relatives with Alzheimer's 54 25%


Personal experience with Alzheimer's is 10 points higher among women than men (46 percent of women say a close friend or relative has had it); it's also higher in the Midwest (48 percent) than in other regions.

And it's lowest among blacks; 31 percent say a close friend or relative has had Alzheimer's, compared to 43 percent of whites.

Demographics of Research Supporters
Age 18 - 34 49%
Age 35+ 64%
Westerners 50%
Southerners 66%
Republicans 55%
Democrats 67%
Men 56%
Women 63%


This ABCNEWS survey was conducted by telephone April 24-28 among a random national sample of 1,027 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Field work was conducted by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.

Previous ABCNEWS polls can be found in our PollVault