Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
April 8th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN Poll: Worries about North Korean threat at all time high

Washington (CNN) – As North Korea increases its alarming threats against South Korea and the United States the past few weeks, a new national survey suggests that Americans are listening.

And a CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that for the first time, a majority of the public is pessimistic that the situation involving North Korea's missile program can be solved by diplomatic and economic means alone.

According to the survey, 41% of Americans now characterize North Korea an immediate threat to the United States, an all-time high for that measure.

"If North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wanted to get the attention of the American public, his strategy is starting to work," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The 41% who now consider North Korea an immediate threat to the United States is up 13 percentage points in less than a month."

READ MORE: North Korea says it's pulling workers out of joint industrial zone

Another 41% say that North Korea is a long-term threat to the U.S and 16% say the isolated regime is not a threat.

North Korea has issued a catalog of alarming threats against the South and the U.S. in the past several weeks, sharpening its rhetoric after the U.N. Security Council imposed stricter sanctions for Pyongyang's latest underground nuclear test, which took place in February. The strong words have put the region on edge.

South Korea said Sunday that it believed Pyongyang could conduct a missile test this week after recently moving the necessary components to the coast.

READ MORE: North Korea shows signs of preparing for nuclear test, South says

According to the poll, only 46% of the public says the crisis can be successfully resolved with diplomatic or economic means alone, with 51% disagreeing.

"For the first time, Americans are pessimistic that the situation involving North Korea can be resolved using only economic and diplomatic means," says Holland. "On previous occasions when tensions with North Korea were running high, most Americans thought that diplomacy would be enough, although that number has dropped over the years as those tensions have re-emerged time after time."

Should the U.S. use troops to defend South Korea if that country is attacked by the north?

The survey indicates that six in ten would support a military response to an attack on South Korea, with a majority of all demographic groups approving that action.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, from April 5-7, with 1,012 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.

READ MORE: Don't be afraid, Seoul's message to tourists


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • North Korea • Polls
soundoff (364 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    north korea wouldn't be going as far as they are going if it wasn't for the empty suited paper tiger occupying the white house that wants to slash military spending. it only invites these types of confrontations.

    April 8, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Mrperson0

    Yes, let's give the fat dictator more attention.

    April 8, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. j

    Yes he does unfortunately......

    April 8, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Jerome Horowitz

    I swear this guy saw "The Mouse That Roared", and is actually looking for a hand-out.

    April 8, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Bingo G201

    Seriously? Worried? Over WHAT? Get over it. The guy is a clown at best.

    April 8, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. Mark

    Sadly our own government poses a greater threat to our freedom and well-being than 'Lil Kim ever will.

    April 8, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. notowar

    They aren't a threat, even if they are attacking, they can't hit anything of ours, but we do have to defend our troops, and help south korea which is an ally, but we aren't alone in that

    April 8, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. SCBAMA

    We are listening loud and clear. Someone kill this guy already. Spending billions just to let him threaten us. Sounds like a job for special forces to me.

    April 8, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    I'm unclear as to who cares about the views of the average american. Look at the typical person on most 'reality' tv shows, or even the guy on the street. They are self centered, uninformed drones that bend anyway the media tells them to without giving anything independent, deep thought.

    April 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    I'm surprised the GOP isn't in love the North Korea: the North Koreans seem to favor dynasties, and everyone does what they are told, and they are ignoring reality.

    April 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. tafugate

    are you sure americans are paying attention to anything north korea does? just in my casual conversations, no one i know gives them a second thought. methinks the media's concern is a bit exaggerated.

    April 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Old Timey

    So, is 41% enough for a preemptive war?

    April 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. dbdy

    Hey Kim Jong Un you got my atttention, now I want you to listen to me, take a big long hot one and put it where the sun don't shine !! You are worthless as a leader.

    April 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. Phaerisee

    Kim Jong Un needs to be worried about the USA.

    April 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. Jerry

    Worry only if the US evacuates military dependents from South Korea, that hasn't happened yet.

    April 8, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Sick

    Ok, so now what do you want Kim Jong Un?

    April 8, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. jonnyg

    He has our negative attention...there is a difference

    April 8, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. Andrew

    Man everyone sure hates us, I wonder why that is? Its not like we pick sides and continually intervene with other nations.

    April 8, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. aphexninja

    Hahaha, worry? It's all a show, and he's doing it to impress his people. We ALL know, or SHOULD know that N. Korea doesn't have the technology to hit us. POSSIBLY Guam, but even that is highly doubtful.

    China is even stepping in and telling them to knock it off - they'll fade back into irrelevance shortly.

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Marcus Takatoa

    Is a poll about what people think of the N. Korea situation "breaking news"?

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. smith

    To all the morons who are afraid of North Korea....go look it up on a map. Chris Christy's refrigerator is bigger then thier country...

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. William

    Give me a break. All we need is another war

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Reasonably

    NK – you have our attention. *BOOM* Next?

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  24. mver

    My American fellows, please don't forget the wars of Iraq and Afganistan that is still not over and we are muddling in

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. paul

    black glove tells me something to do with oj case

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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