Views About Torture Remain Evenly Split

Source Organization: Pew Research Center


04/23/2009 - Amid intense debate over the use of torture against suspected terrorists, public opinion about this issue remains fairly stable. Currently, nearly half say the use of torture in dealing with suspected terrorists is often (15%) or sometimes (34%) justified; about the same proportion believes that the use of torture under such circumstances is rarely (22%) or never (25%) justified.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 14-21 among 742 adults interviewed in English and Spanish on landlines and cell phones, finds little change in opinions about the use of torture against suspected terrorists.

There are continuing partisan differences over the use of torture under these circumstances. Comparable percentages of Republicans (15%) and Democrats (12%) believe that the torture of suspected terrorists to gain important information is often justified, but twice as many Republicans as Democrats say torture is sometimes justified (49% vs. 24%). Similarly, while nearly identical percentages of Republicans and Democrats say torture under these circumstances is rarely justified, 38% of Democrats believe the torture of suspected terrorists is never justified, compared with 14% of Republicans.

Read the complete findings Views About Torture Remain Evenly Split on the Pew Research Center's Web site.

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