Most Americans say that waterboarding is torture, but just over a quarter of the country say that they would personally waterboard a suspected terrorist
On Monday, former candidate for Vice President and political commentator Sarah Palin caused controversy at an NRA conference when she said that 'waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists'. Palin was criticized not only by anti-waterboarding figures, but also by religious leaders who said that her comments degraded the Christian sacrament of baptism. For much of the Bush administration, the US government insisted that waterboarding - where the feeling of drowning is induced, and breathing stopped, by pouring water over someone with a bag over their head - was not torture and instead considered the practice as part of 'enhanced interrogation'.
The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans (66%) do think that waterboarding is torture - though 21% disagree and say that it isn't torture. Republicans are the least likely to say that waterboarding is torture, though even among them 50% say that it is torture while 33% say that it isn't.
Asked whether they would waterboard a suspected terrorist personally, 27% of Americans said that they would and 47% said that they wouldn't. 70% of people who do not consider it torture say that they would do it themselves, while 15% wouldn't. Among the two-thirds of Americans who do consider it a form of torture, 64% say that they would not waterboard a suspected terrorist. 16% of people who say that waterboarding is torture would do it. Overall, 10% of Americans say both that they consider waterboarding to be torture and that they would personally waterboard someone
Full poll results can be found here.