The new administration has pledged to take America in a new direction in facing threats to national security and preventing terrorism, but President Obama inherits a country that is politically split on one of the most controversial debates from the Bush administration, torture. A small majority says torture is rarely (20%) or never (31%) justified, but more than four-in-ten say torture is often (16%) or sometimes (28%) justified. Opinions about torture have been consistent over the past three years. The division is also political. While 43% of Democrats say torture is never justified, just 15% of Republicans and 30% of independents hold that view. A majority of Republicans — 65% — say torture is often or sometimes justified. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.