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. Joe Blow

    With CNN, anything is "Breaking News" from the Buckwild star (who no one had ever heard of) to a poll showing Americans are freaked out because everyday we see pictures of little fat boy talking smack about "Death to America". Just because CNN says it is big news doesn't mean it is people. I am alot more threatened by bad drivers, Cancer, cigarette smoke, poisionous snakes and pickpockets than I am a fat boy wannabe 7,000 miles away from my hometown

    April 8, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Ted Turner

    This is all a part of our strategy here at CNN. We instill fear in the minds of our followers by playing non stop news upping the tensions then release a poll asking them if their scared. We then put it as front page news in order to get tensions high again just when it seems things are cooling off. We need this war to happen, its how we make money, thanks to the military industrial complex.

    April 8, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. mogran

    Why on earth does anybody believe we fear North Korea...please be more sensible...one B-2 will take care of them nicely...end of problem

    April 8, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Osama may be dead but he won his war with us."

    I may have misinterpreted your full comment. Are you one of the folks who are actually afraid of N. Korea? To be clear, Osama is DEAD. He won NOTHING.

    Unless of course you are speaking from your own fear.

    April 8, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Dan

    I am more amused then concerned.

    April 8, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Robert

    We are giving this fat, little F-–, and his collectively psychotic state everything they want – worldwide attention that they don't deserve. Yes, they could start hostilities and cause some damage, but believe me, even the Chinese and Russians are disgusted with the nut jobs, and the joint US/ROK military commands have had specific retaliatory plans in place for 20 years that on the first lobbing of artillery shells will reduce their command/control systems and every military, and energy asset they have to rubble. We really can't blame them too much, because the Western powers (and China and Russia) have sent them food, money, and technology every time they pull these tantrums for the last 50 years! Let's call their bluff this time, or it will only be worse next time.

    April 8, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Andrew

    why is this 'BREAKING NEWS"!!!!!!!!! geez!

    April 8, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. just sayin

    just sayin

    Sniffit
    Here's a big fat hint: NK Is not throwing a hissy fit because Obama didn't do enough....NK is throwing a hissy fit because of just how much Obama did.
    --–

    ok, so now we'll know who to blame when war breaks out. thanks for this info. i was afraid you'd try and blame it on george bush.

    April 8, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. rob

    Push the button.

    April 8, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Whitelighter36

    The sitation with North Korea is alarming. But, we have to call on our government and diplomats to take a look at heir actions. What could have been done differently? Do we need to change our approach or policies for that matter? How can we prevent an armed conflict? Should we work more with our allies, China and Russia on this issue?

    April 8, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. KimJonDong

    Hey, I'm serious....you gotta listen to me. You know wa good fa you, you treat me witha respect.

    April 8, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. Visara

    This is just like when Saddam said "The mother of all wars has begun." Then he got his butt kicked. This guy's all talk. He knows if he tried anything, his country would be sent back to the stone age.

    April 8, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. Dan

    This is hilarious. The fat kid has no power, and the DPRK can only wage a three-day war due to limited amounts of fuel, ammo, and tree bark. CNN, this manufactured news story is worrying people for no reason. It's sad to see this news outlet preying on the ill-informed for an advertising buck.

    April 8, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. Tony Williams

    The reason people are worried about North Korea is because major news services are exaggerating the threat and reporting on every tiny facet of it to imply a danger that is quite small to gain viewers. Don't buy into it, America.

    April 8, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Gabby Henderson

    North Korea keeps threating us but they can't reach us with a missle unless the come closer to us

    April 8, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. m norcross

    North Korea has stepped way outside the normal, and I believe they mean to do something stupid.
    Kim II cannot back out know, he has stepped way out on the limb, He wants war, he has made this clear. The question is not if, it is when!
    So is he a concern, YES, this will become a war. Sad for the North Koreans the blindly follow their leader, and do not even realize what they are up against.
    Watch and see, Kim II has no regard for any life, that why he threatens nuclear use so easily.

    April 8, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. jerpell

    This chubby punk better not back down!...I'm looking forward to this!

    April 8, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Tommy G

    mogran
    Why on earth does anybody believe we fear North Korea...please be more sensible...one B-2 will take care of them nicely...end of problem
    ------

    Because while they will eventually lose any war they start, it will still result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people, including American soldiers, sailors and airmen. And if you think one B2 can address a million man army (with 6 million in reserve) you are seriously delusional.

    April 8, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Aaron

    More of the era we live in...creating news rather than reporting on the day's events. We could likely use about half of the news sources, about a quarter of the reporters/journalists and lose all of the pseudo-journalists.

    April 8, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. John

    Puppets. He's a joke just like his father! I'm just wondering what Iran is thinking now that they aren't the pressured country.

    April 8, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. pfr1nk

    If you are afraid of the little fat kid then whatever you do dont go outside, you might see your shadow.

    /He does this to keep HIS country scared. Nothing will come of it.

    April 8, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Darren Ward

    Oh sure...CNN you are brilliant, so just tell the whole world including North Korea that they are scaring Americans with their threats. There is nothing wrong with Americans being concerned, but it really isn't necessary to publish it to the whole world. Especially, when I am sure that North Korea's leadership isn't separated from Western journalism like you may believe. They are trying to scare us and now you just encouraged them by broadcasting it on the front page of your website.

    April 8, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Kim Jong Unf

    Attention or contempt?

    April 8, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. just do it

    I have three words for kim dong un... Seal Team Six.

    April 8, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. Scott

    The relevance of the movie "War Games" idealizes the result of the potential aggression of North Korea.

    April 8, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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