Kim Jong Un and North Korea's military
April 8th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
2 years 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. mike

    Does Un have your attention? I know he does cause it's f or walk.

    April 8, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Bob H

    So let me get this straight. CNN runs non stop fear mongering about North Korea for three straight weeks. They then conduct a poll asking Americans if they are worried (how could they not be after all the coverage). Then, just as the situation looks to be cooling off, they release the poll and make it front page news. This seems manipulative.

    April 8, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. digger

    The Pillsbury Doughboy has declared war on us. ACT. When someone tells you he is going to punch you, do you wait to get hit?

    April 8, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Roger

    Of course people are listening. That's what people do with bullies; they listen to and appease them. That's also why egocentric mega-b-stards like Kim Jung Ug do it. He actually thinks he's a god and has intimidated the poor North Korean peole into worshipping him. But the only thing to do with Kim Jung Un is to infiltrate North Korea, capture him, remove his head, stuff it up his butt and then run his body up that giant flag pole near the demilitarized zone.

    April 8, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Tim

    Very few fat soldiers, or anyone else for that matter(except for Mr. Un). Jenny Craig would not do well there.

    April 8, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Doina C.

    For 2 years already I continually follow everything related to North Korea, mostly online informations and I have tried to connect them to the country's communist history. The political tenssion was higher and higher every decade, but nothing seemed to prepare us for this new, too young and irresponsible "leader".I am a Navy mom and live in an allert mode for several months now,ready for everything...United States must and will prevail!

    April 8, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. needNewGov

    A couple of tons of munitions place on the fat kid and it's over.

    April 8, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Fun with Teatroll Paranoia 101:

    You know, a good war would be just the excuse we need for Obama and the Dems to push through tax increases on the wealthy since the only times we failed to raise taxes to pay for war efforts, Iraq and Afghanistan, taught us the real and lasting lesson that all that accomplishes is massive deficits and debt.

    April 8, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. cnnmembuh

    Kim "shrimp de" Jong Un-impressive.

    April 8, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Bill Herrold

    Let me see, CNN does its best to hype everyone into a frenzy about North Korea, then CNN has a Breaking News story about how everyone is hyped into a frenzy about North Korea. Isn't this the definition of manufactured news?

    April 8, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Zipliner

    "The 41% who now consider North Korea an immediate threat to the United States is up 13 percentage points in less than a month." ...

    This wouldn't have anything to do with all the breathless reporting from 24 hour news outlets, now would it?

    April 8, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Andy

    What a waste of a story CNN. Who cares about the worries of the public, that has no say in what goes on in the Korean penninsula? The "world police" will obviously take care of the situation in whatever manner they see best fit for the benefit of the United States. The public opinion makes no difference at all to them. We could blow them up 50 times in a row and the opinion of the "41%" would still not matter. GET SOME REAL NEWS ABOUT KOREA!

    April 8, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Ponce Leon

    Dear CNN

    "Breaking News" You keep using those words. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    April 8, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Anthony in California

    @just sayin

    yes, a million man plus army, thousands and thousands of missiles and artillery batteries trianed on seoul, south korea and 30-40,000 us troops close to the dmz. no threat? wht dream world do you live in? and who else will be lining up to help us? the only ones we can usually count on are britain, canada, australia and poland."

    Im pretty sure China has sided with us. And calling Obama an empty suited paper tiger makes you like pretty silly. You want ground wars, the death of our young men, so you can thump your "Amurkan" chest about how we "werent scared to go to war". Sorry bud, i'll take the "walk soft-big stick" president Obama over the cowboy tactics of GWBush... get a clue. All you do is pollute these boards with ignorance and misinformation. But what ever helps you sleep at night "just sayin"

    April 8, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. critical thinking

    I think with any bully you need to spell out what your response will be if they act on their words. The response needs to 5 times that of the potential response, leaving no doubt that if they execute the threat that the result back will be swift and extremely punishing. One missile hit, gets 5 in return, no hesitation, no negotiating. But this type of courage requires leadership, so for next 4 years, North Korea will be able to do anything it wants.

    April 8, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Beerjerk

    Of course he has your attention. CNN and other media won't shut up about him. Every news page I open, Kim's fat face takes up half the screen. Maybe if the media didn't help feed this troll people wouldn't be collectively wetting their pants over the Korean peninsula.

    April 8, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. john

    cnn front page says this is "breaking new". Really?? Another stupid guy trying to get attention...move on.

    April 8, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Joe

    Even with conventional weapons the NKs can inflect many casulaties on SK with artillary, and US bases with medium range missles, all within 20 minutes. An invasion could then take significant territory within a day or so. Our ability to bomb them back will be limited if they take any cities. Bombing NK itself is not going to be productive because they don't have much to bomb. A pre-emptive strike at their troops near the DMZ, bombers hitting their missle sites, and drones waiting for artillary to pop out from their mountainside hideouts would be most effective, but we wouldn't do that.

    April 8, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. katmoondaddy

    He reminds me of "Dark Helmet" played by Rick Moranis in the movie "Spaceballs". Hyper-ludicrous!

    April 8, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Britta Taylor

    We can't just send in some snipers and take him out can we?

    April 8, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Bilbo

    yeah we're listening...and hoping like hell to see this guy do something stupid and bite the dust.

    April 8, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. stonewall123

    Maybe it's because you've been giving him center stage CNN!

    April 8, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Frank

    I will say what many people deep inside want, but act like they don't.

    Let's have a war with them and get it over with! Better than live in fear of threats for the rest of our lives. Isn't 60 years enough? Every week, or every day, or every month, we have to worry and deal about them. Then let's not forget the attack NK did in south korea in 2010. I say let's have this war. There are consequences for everything. But I say we get this done. Because even if it would suck, it would be better worldwide in the long run.

    April 8, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. wes

    North Korea is a joke. They cannot keep their power on for more than one third of the day, they cannot feed their people, and they have ww2 military technology. Sounds like more fear mongering from obama's liberal media propaganda wing.

    April 8, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. NK False Flag

    North Korea is being targeted as a false flag war for some reason we do not yet know. The North Korean people are starving and the only fat one there is their leader and he's the one causing the trouble. Their army won't stand a chance because they use weapons from the 1970's. Warfare has changed and KJU knows it which is why he hasn't attacked. But he does not realize the danger of one of his squads getting reckless and attacking. America is just waiting for an excuse to go in which it will get soon. They just need to brainwash you on CNN and tell you that they are the aggressors when their military is of little threat to us.

    April 8, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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