updated 7/11/2006 8:17:26 PM ET 2006-07-12T00:17:26

The Associated Press-Ipsos poll on public attitudes about lying is based on telephone interviews with 1,000 adults in the United States from all states except Alaska and Hawaii. The interviews were conducted June 23-27 by Ipsos, an international polling firm.

Results were weighted to represent the population by demographic factors such as age, sex, region, race and income.

No more than one time in 20 should chance variations in the sample cause the results to vary by more than 3 percentage points from the answers that would be obtained if all Americans were polled.

There are other sources of potential error in polls, including the wording and order of questions. Results may not total 100 percent because of rounding.

1. Do you think it is sometimes justified to lie, or do you think lying is never justified?

  • Sometimes justified, 42 percent
  • Never justified, 52 percent
  • Depends (volunteered), 5 percent
  • Not sure, 1 percent

2. I’m going to read you a list of situations when people sometimes lie. For each one, please tell me whether you think lying in that situation is often okay, sometimes okay, or never okay. How about

Lying in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings

  • Often okay, 9 percent
  • Sometimes okay, 56 percent
  • Never okay, 34 percent
  • Not sure, 1 percent

Exaggerating the facts to make a story more interesting

  • Often okay, 5 percent
  • Sometimes okay, 39 percent
  • Never okay, 56 percent

A parent lying to a child about the parent’s past misbehavior

  • Often okay, 4 percent
  • Sometimes okay, 36 percent
  • Never okay, 59 percent
  • Not sure, 1 percent

Lying about one’s age

  • Often okay, 5 percent
  • Sometimes okay, 32 percent
  • Never okay, 63 percent

Lying about being sick to take the day off work

  • Often okay, 3 percent
  • Sometimes okay, 31 percent
  • Never okay, 66 percent

Lying on a resume

  • Often okay, 1 percent
  • Sometimes okay, 10 percent
  • Never okay, 88 percent
  • Not sure, 1 percent

Lying to one’s spouse or partner about an affair

  • Often okay, 2 percent
  • Sometimes okay, 7 percent
  • Never okay, 90 percent
  • Not sure, 1 percent

Cheating on one’s taxes

  • Often okay, 1 percent
  • Sometimes okay, 5 percent
  • Never okay, 93 percent
  • Not sure, 1 percent

3. How often do you feel you have to lie or cheat, even just a little?

  • Often, 1 percent
  • Occasionally, 8 percent
  • Rarely, 52 percent
  • Never, 39 percent

4. Thinking about the past week, do you think you might have told a lie?

  • Yes, 20 percent
  • No, 79 percent
  • Not sure, 1 percent

(5a and 5b were asked of those who said in question 4 they have told a lie in the last week.

5a. What was the most recent lie you told, even if it was just a small one?

(Since answers were open ended, they were not coded.)

5b. And to whom did you tell this lie?

  • Friend-family member, 51 percent
  • Co-worker, 14 percent
  • Customer-client, 2 percent
  • Other, 8 percent
  • Not sure, 25 percent

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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