April 23, 2009

Public Remains Divided Over Use of Torture

About the Survey

Results for survey are based on telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates among a nationwide sample of 1,507 adults, 18 years of age or older, from April 14-21, 2009 (1132 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 375 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 129 who had no landline telephone). The question in this release was asked of Form 1 respondents only; results are based on 742 interviews. Both the landline and cell phone samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see http://www.people-press.org/methodology/.

The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race/ethnicity, region, and population density to parameters from the March 2008 Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The sample is also weighted to match current patterns of telephone status and relative usage of landline and cell phones (for those with both), based on extrapolations from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the sample.

The following table shows the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey:

Group Sample Size Plus or minus…
Form 1 742 4.0 percentage points
Form 1 Republicans 188 8.0 percentage points
Form 1 Democrats 254 7.0 percentage points
Form 1 Independents 260 7.0 percentage points

In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.