The poll showed that 68 percent think there are some circumstances when the government is justified in using torture, including 16 percent who think it’s always justified, 33 percent who think it’s sometimes justified, and 19 percent who think it’s rarely justified. Only 22 percent of Americans think torture is never justified. Democrats who were polled were most likely to say that torture is either rarely or never justified. But even among Democrats, only 34 percent said torture is never justified.
By a 49 percent to 28 percent margin, more Americans think it’s possible to combat terrorism without torture, the poll showed. Another 23 percent said they weren’t sure. Democrats (56 percent to 22 percent) and independents (49 percent to 35 percent) were most likely to say that it is possible. Republicans were evenly split at 40 percent.