Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Torture Justified

More than four in ten Americans (43%) say that the use of torture can be justified to gain key information sometimes(31%) or often (12%), according to a 2007 Pew Research survey.However, a 54%-majority say torture is never (29%) or rarely (25%) justified. The number of Americans saying the use of torture against suspected terrorists is at least sometimes justified has been fairly stable since 2004, though the percentage saying torture can often be justified has dipped from 18% in October 2006. There have been consistent demographic and political differences in views about whether torture of suspected terrorists is ever justified. For instance, more African Americans than whites say the torture of suspected terrorists is never justified (37% vs. 28%). Older Americans also are more likely to rule out the use of torture than are younger people: 36% of those ages 65 and older say torture of suspected terrorists is never justified, compared with 25% of those ages 18-29.Read More