The Sad Truth About How Americans Think About Torture, in Three Charts


Is torture acceptable? For most Americans, the answer is yes; it just depends on what kind of torture you're talking about.


"Like so many other issues, views about torture are highly polarized politically," explains YouGov researcher Will Jordan. "Thirty-eight percent of Democrats say torture is never justified, compared to just 11% of Republicans. Republicans are also more open to all of the specified tactics than their Democratic counterparts. In fact, while Democrats tend to say all of the nine tactics are unacceptable, Republicans tend to say all of them are acceptable, with one exception: People of all political persuasions reject the use of rectal feeding."


This YouGov data isn't surprising: In August 2011, a narrow majority (53%) of Americans said the use of torture could be sometimes or often justified, with just 42% saying it could only rarely be justified or not be justified at all.

Pew Research Center