Demographics and details about the AP-Ipsos poll on attitudes about lying. The results are taken from a poll of 1,000 adults conducted June 23-27 by Ipsos, an international polling firm. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
About four in 10 think lying is justified sometime, while just over half, 52 percent, said it is never justified. Asked whether lying is OK in a number of circumstances, about two-thirds, 65 percent, said it is at least sometimes OK to lie when trying to protect someone’s feelings. About four in 10 said it’s OK at times to exaggerate a story to make it more interesting, and lying to a child about a parent’s past misbehavior. About a third say it’s OK at times to lie about one’s age and lying about being sick to take a day off of work. Very few thought it was OK to lie on a resume, lie about cheating on a spouse or cheat on your taxes.
Who defends lying
Those most likely to think lying is sometimes justified: people from 18-29 (57 percent) compared with about four in 10 adults 30 and over, college graduates (51 percent), those with higher household incomes (a little more than half of those making at least $50k) and unmarried women (53 percent).
Those more likely to say it’s OK to lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings: Those with college degrees (72 percent), household income greater than $50K (about 75 percent) and Democrats (82 percent).
While 44 percent said it’s OK at least sometimes to exaggerate to improve a story and 56 percent said it’s never OK, married women (66 percent) and Republican women (68 percent) were more likely to say this is never OK.
Four in 10, 40 percent, said it is at least sometimes OK for a parent to lie to a child about the parent’s past misbehavior. Those with more education were more likely to say this is sometimes OK (51 percent of those with a college degree compared with 27 percent with a high school education or less. Catholics (50 percent) were more likely than Protestants (36 percent) to say it is at least sometimes OK for a parent to do this.
They cannot tell a lie ... maybe
Four in 10, 39 percent, said they never have to lie or cheat. It appears a small number of respondents either didn’t understand the question or told the pollster a lie. Almost one in 10 who said they never have to lie reported in the very next question that they might have told a lie in the past week.
One in five said they might have told a lie in the past week. One-third (32 percent) of adults between 18-34 said they may have told a lie in the past week, compared to 13 percent of those 35 and older.