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. John Burger

    Asking if the U.S. shoud use troops to defend the South against an attack from the DPRK is a stupid question. There are 30,000 Marines in Seoul. If the DPRK attacks, the U.S. forces are alreay in it. There is no decision. This goes down and we're in the fight whether anyone likes it or not.

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Ivanho4

    No doubt about it, we will be trading shots with N. Korea within the next 30-45 days. Kim Jung Un is a freakin' mental case and his brainwashed high command will do whatever he tells them.

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Ten Hut!

    I'm at full attention!

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

    Does anyone think that N Korea would be making these threats if Ronald Reagan was the President? This is what happens when you have a socialist President who takes an apology tour of the world and wants to cut defense spending to next to nothing so he can continue bribing welfare recipients for their votes using taxpayers dollars.

    April 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. @justsayin

    That "paper tiger" you refer to in the White House is doing a better job than the warmonger who was there for the previous eight years. I"m "just sayin'" that you're a blithering ignoramus.

    April 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Gusto

    "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."

    So...people on reality shows are representative of the avg. American?
    Are you suffering from some kind of closed-head injury?
    Or, have you always been a blithering moron???

    April 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Sane Person

    "BREAKING NEWS: Kim Jon Un has your attention!"

    and tell me, CNN... who's fault is that?

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

    The only reason is because the news reports it. If this was some ranting idiot at a local bar (yes, he's a ranting idiot but head of a country) nobody would even care.

    April 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Bruce

    Its too bad that we let such a man as Kim Jong make us listen to him. What the world needs to do is silence him once and for all and help South Korea which is truly a democracy.

    April 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Name

    Scared of what? LOL

    April 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Ben the Cat

    Mark, you have no idea what lack of freedom means. And if you lived in a dictatorship, my guess is you would be an officer for the dictator, and would be very proud of your position...

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

    He is getting the attention because the media is feeding his madness!

    April 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Ohio

    It is getting silly, there are enough important things to consider in the world without this. They cannot be trusted ( North), and have proved this to the world. If any action of war is taken on their part ,The USA, South Korea, And China should answer the final word with whatever force it takes to safe guard the rest of the world from potential threats. I'm sorry to say, but if it requires the response of nuk's, then so it should be some people just cannot be baby sit and should just be handled at times.

    April 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Ralph Venner

    I support a military attack on Kim Jong Un's haircut...

    April 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Milton Platt

    Like some kid playing with his toy soldiers, except someone could be killed because of the stupidity.

    April 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "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."

    Ridiculous. Even the ever-petulant chickenhawk, Twinkletoes Graham, has said he approves of Obama's handling of this situation. Would you like to tell us all what should have been done differently, General Armchair?

    April 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. BM

    He had my attention in the movie "Team America". That's about as much attention as he'll get. Wasn't that him, or at least the same guy playing him?

    April 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. meifumado

    I hope this guy tries something, We need another big war to thin the herd.

    April 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. some guy

    If only North Korea could make money on the number of clicks or maybe a you tube channel its hunger would go away.

    April 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Concerned World Citizen

    Yes, KJU has my attention: I'm very concerned that he's taking a very big chance with the lives of a lot of innocent North and South Koreans.

    April 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Donna

    This is what happens when you let kooks get nukes. Iran is next. The fun is just beginning people. Somebody will explode a nuke before 2020 and others will be forced to respond in kind. But no problem, slash that military budget Obama. We know you can talk them into submission with your jedi master mind meld tricks.

    April 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. Raju Suwal

    North Korea doesn't even have a well trained Eye Specialist to cure. They frequently ask other countries who are neutral in the World stage to help them. One example is Nepal. Many doctors from Nepal go to North Korea to help the sick North Koreans. Like one Youtube video shows : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_7-X0ImRdY

    April 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. raul

    im not worried i just want him either out or to shut the hell up either or we arrest people for carrying pocket knives on planes .. this guy has nukes and wants to use them. are we going to wait until they do have the range to nuke the entire west coast? really?

    April 8, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. Richard

    I think it is high time we give lil kim just what he's asking for. destroy north korea and give it to South Korea as a lovely parting gift.

    April 8, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. Ram Suwal

    North Korea doesn't even have a well trained Eye Specialist to cure. They frequently ask other countries who are neutral in the World stage to help them. One example is Nepal. Many doctors from Nepal go to North Korea to help the sick North Koreans. Like one Youtube video shows : youtube.com/watch?v=l_7-X0ImRdY

    April 8, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15