February 10, 2013

We should track attitudes about human rights at least as well as we track attitudes about presidents

The fact that torture appears to have grown more popular in recent years is disturbing, but it's also worth knowing. Indeed, we should be doing a lot more to understood American attitudes about human rights. Unfortunately, we’re not asking the same questions often enough to draw any meaningful conclusions about trends. (Pew's polling is so infrequent that any given trend could be an outlier, and we can’t check Pew against other polls because other pollsters are phrasing the questions differently.) So here's what should happen: Pew or some other non-profit group should launch a wide-ranging poll of attitudes about human rights, including torture, and repeat it monthly until the end of time. We do it for presidential approval ratings. Opinions about human rights are at least as important as opinions about presidents!

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