"when the Pew Research Center first surveyed on the subject in July 2004, a narrow majority (53%) said the use of torture to gain important information from suspected terrorists could be only rarely or never justified. Opinion has shifted since then, with more Americans finding torture acceptable. In August 2011, a narrow majority (53%) of Americans said the use of torture could be often or sometimes justified, while 42% said it could only rarely be justified or not be justified at all."An Associated Press poll conducted in 2013 confirmed the Pew findings.
In spite of the recent release of a damning Senate report on the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques during the George W. Bush administration, experts expect the public to remain supportive of torture, perhaps due to the polarization of the electorate: Pew found that a "large majority of Republicans (71 percent) said torture could be at least sometimes justified, compared with 51 percent of independents and 45 percent of Democrats."
The War on Terror: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3465)
Respondants reporting whether they think it will be necessary to give up some civil liberties to curb terrorism (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/2884)