A USA Today – Gallup poll finds 62% favor investigating Bush administration torture, with 38% favoring a criminal investigation and 24% a non-criminal investigation:
Close to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program of wiretapping U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done.
Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe, three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither.
The ACLU and other groups are pressing for inquiries into whether the Bush administration violated U.S. and international bans on torture and the constitutional right to privacy. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers and his Senate counterpart, Patrick Leahy, have proposed commissions to investigate.
Further, 71% want an investigation of misuse of the Justice Department for political purposes and 63% of illegal wiretapping. Not surprisingly, the results differ by party affiliation, though over 20% of Republicans favor criminal investigation in each of the three areas and over 40% favoring some investigation:
Perhaps not unexpectedly, a majority of Democratic identifiers favor a criminal probe into all three matters — including 54% who do so with respect to warrantless wiretaps, 51% for the possible use of torture, and 52% for the firing of U.S. attorneys.
In contrast, Republicans are most likely to oppose any type of investigation, including a majority who say so in regard to the possible use of torture (54%) and warrantless wiretaps (56%). Republicans are more receptive to an investigation into possible efforts to politicize the Justice Department, with 24% favoring a criminal probe and 28% in favor of an independent panel report. Still, the greatest number (43%) of Republicans think there should be no investigation into the Justice Department matter.
Independents’ views on all three matters fall in between those of Republicans and Democrats, with a majority favoring some type of investigation but (unlike Democrats) not a criminal probe.
February 12th, 2009