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U.S. Public Opinion on Torture, 2001–2009

  • Paul Gronke (a1), Darius Rejali (a1), Dustin Drenguis (a1), James Hicks (a1), Peter Miller (a2) and Bryan Nakayama (a1)...

Many journalists and politicians believe that during the Bush administration, a majority of Americans supported torture if they were assured that it would prevent a terrorist attack. As Mark Danner wrote in the April 2009 New York Review of Books, “Polls tend to show that a majority of Americans are willing to support torture only when they are assured that it will ‘thwart a terrorist attack.’” This view was repeated frequently in both left- and right-leaning articles and blogs, as well as in European papers (Sharrock 2008; Judd 2008; Koppelman 2009; Liberation 2008). There was a consensus, in other words, that throughout the years of the Bush administration, public opinion surveys tended to show a pro-torture American majority.

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Benjamin Mark, and de Yoanna Michael. 2009. “Coming Home: Death in the USA, the Army's Fatal Neglect.”, February 9.
Cleveland William S. 1979. “Robust Locally Weighted Regression and Smoothing Scatterplots.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 74: 829–36.
Danner Mark. 2009. “US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites.” New York Review of Books 56 (6): 76.
Hafner-Burton Emily, and Ron James. 2009. “Seeing Double: Human Rights Impact through Qualitative and Quantitative Eyes.” World Politics 61 (2): 360401.
Judd Brothers. 2008. “Review of Torture and Democracy.”, March 3.
Koppelman Alex. 2009. “Obama Reframes the Torture Debate.”, April 29.
Lee Tien-Tsung. 2005. “The Liberal Media Myth Revisited: An Examination of Factors Influencing Media Bias.” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 49 (1): 543–64.
Liberation. 2008. “L'Essor Inquiétant du ‘Supplice Propre’ en Démocratie” Liberation, December 12.
Miller Peter. 2010. “Torture and Social Modernization.” Paper presented at the 2010 Western Political Science Association Meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 1–3.
Montgomery Michael, and Phillips Joshua E. S.. 2009. “What Killed Sergeant Gray: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” American Radio Works.
Phillips Joshua E. S. 2010. None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture. New York: Verso.
Rejali Darius. 2004. “Of Human Bondage.”, June 18.
Rejali Darius. 2007. Torture and Democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Rejali Darius. 2009. “Ice Water and Sweatboxes: The Long and Sadistic History behind the CIA's Torture Techniques.”, March 17.
Ross L., Greene D., and House P.. 1977. “The False Consensus Phenomenon: An Attributional Bias in Self-Perception and Social Perception Processes.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 13 (3): 279301.
Sharrock Justine. 2008. “Am I A Torturer?Mother Jones 42 (2): 4249.
World Public Opinion.Org. 2009. “Majority of Americans Approve Complete Ban on Torture.” World Public Opinion.Org, June 24.
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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