Looking at public opinion across major regions, the view that torture may be justified is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, where a median of 55% hold this view; it is least common in Latin America (a median of 25%).
The U.S. public is among the most likely to consider torture justifiable: 58% say this, while only 37% disagree. There are only five nations in the survey where larger shares of the public believe torture against suspected terrorists can be justified: Uganda (78%), Lebanon (72%), Israel (62%), Kenya (62%) and Nigeria (61%).
American public opinion breaks sharply along partisan and ideological lines on this issue. Nearly three-in-four Republicans (73%) think torture can be justified against people suspected of terrorism, compared with just 58% of independents and 46% of Democrats. Similarly, 69% of conservatives say it can be justified, while 59% of moderates and 43% of liberals agree.
People’s views about their own country’s potential use of torture are strongly correlated with their views about the U.S. government’s post-9/11 interrogation practices.
Countries with larger percentages of people who say their own governments would be justified in torturing terrorist suspects also tend to have larger percentages of people saying the use of torture by the U.S. government was justified after the 9/11 attacks.