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. Jay

    Damn right. Ever since they attacked the White House and almost killed the president, I've been saying they're dangerous. Wake up people. They damn near destroyed Washington, D.C. If it wasn't for Gerard Butler, this country would be a nuclear wasteland.

    April 8, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Adam

    I'm not worried, I'm annoyed. This is the little rich kid who didn't get enough attention, so he's doing all of this to get people in his country behind him and to validate his existence.
    If he were that big and powerful, he would stop talking about it and making threats and ACTUALLY have the guts to DO SOMETHING!
    As Margaret Thatcher said: “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.”

    I say we treat him like the immature brat he is and ignore his childish outbursts.

    April 8, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Ryan Hemingway

    yawn... must be a slow news day! does anyone know if they ever found amelia earhart's plane?

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

    News flash CNN, you are the ones making people scared over the idiot loud mouth doing exactly what North Korea has always done – empty threats.

    April 8, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Jc

    I would like to see the breakdown of that poll by party. All I hear from liberals is "bomb NK!" And from conservatives "do nothing", which is about face for each party. Its as if the universe turned on its head.

    April 8, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Anthony in California

    "liberals are just mouths with no teeth.
    Honestly, if Lil' Kim snuck a nuke into a west coast port and set it off, I and millions of American patriots would thoroughly enjoy it."

    So did you enjoy Pearl Harbor?
    Did you enjoy the WTC attacks on 9-11?
    You sir are sick, and do not deserve to call yourself a "Patriot".

    April 8, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Fiesta42

    Of course people are paying attention... the news organizations (CNN especially!) are cramming it down everyone's throat at every opportunity.

    April 8, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. magnum12

    The wing nut is a chicken hawk and would pee in his pants should North Korea be attacked. Not even worthy of local village news.

    April 8, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. harrisonhits2

    Yes Americans have become a bunch of wimps afraid of our own shadows. Osama may be dead but he won his war with us.

    April 8, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. mark2789

    He's an irritating loud mouthed, chest pounding idiot who, given enough time will initiate disaster in one form or another....his ego demands it. Reminds me of our governor here in Texas. Both need to go.

    April 8, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Baa Weet

    The US should just say 'ok you declared war on us,so here we come',and take 20 stealth bombers over NK, drop a few thousand water balloons on them,and say 'we win!!'

    April 8, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. 163

    If a tree falls in the forest...does CNN report live?

    April 8, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. peacearoundtheworld

    Check out the picture under tab 4 – I am thinking a cross between Thomas the Train engineer meets angry French baker wearing the hats... I just cannot take these folks seriously – maybe he is thinking 'reality tv' for the long term. In that case, I may pay attention to this knucklehead, as it may be entertaining.

    April 8, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. cali girl

    The Next Hollywood Blockbuster: Team America In 3-D.

    April 8, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Whatever

    So, I've heard that the brain isn't fully grown until age 25. How old is Kim Jong Un again?

    April 8, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. ChuckChes

    The USSR had thousands of nuclear missles pointed at us and constantly indicted how they would annillate us from the planet. The only difference with North Korea is that back then we did not have 24-how news channels trying to make such a big deal of this. But this is a perfect example of what rouge countries can do with nuclear weapons in their back pockets and is really just a sample of what other rouge countries(Iran) will do when they get nuclear weapons. NK has to make the first agreesive move and as backward as they might be, their nuclear weapons can kill just a well as the our modern ones. 1.3 million NK solders is no small potatoes and they could invoke a whole lotta death before they all die for their country.

    April 8, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Aaron

    Kim Jong Un gives us the impression he’s laid back. Are you sure he wants to push the button?

    April 8, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Rick

    Oh, and shame on China for allowing the NK people to live in such fear and hunger while the dictator eats grapes, drives Lambos, and drinks the finest Jonnie Walker. I think this is more of their problem than the U.S.

    April 8, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Robin

    You know, this reminds me (ironically enough) about one of the episodes of M*A*S*H. They had a guy named 5 o'clock Charlie who flew near the MASH Unit in a beat up prop plane and physically dropped a harmless mini-bomb out of his hands and missed the target every time.

    April 8, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Jason

    Why does this qualify "breaking news"? Remember when "Breaking News" meant something important ACTUALLY happened?

    April 8, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Chuck

    The 41% are really the dumbest of us.

    April 8, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. JiminNM

    Not worried at all. Not America's problem. Perhaps bullying NK is going to get the bully's nose bloodied and a_s kicked one way or the other. The NWO people think they can do whatever they want without adverse consequences, but one day there will be a final judgment for the bullies.

    April 8, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Bilbo

    Does Un look like he lives off of a diet of Ding Dongs or what? He must do his own hair with horse clippers.

    April 8, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Atheisticallyyours

    North Korea needs a good predator drone strike (or strikes!) dropped upon it! People are tired of this country's idiocy! No troops need be sent. Just 1-2 good, well-placed drone strikes that takes out the ENTIRE North Korean government! No one will miss that country!

    April 8, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. kk

    Somebody shove this kid back into his high school locker where he belongs.

    April 8, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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