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. 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-bassttards like Kim Dung 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 Dung Ug is to infiltrate North Korea, capture him, cut his damn head off, stuff it up his butt and then run his body up that giant flag pole near the demilitarized zone.

    April 8, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Dawne

    Of course I'm concerned. My daughter and granddaughter are in Okinawa and my son-in-law is in South Korea. Dang straight I'm concerned.!

    April 8, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Fred

    We need to have compassion and understanding for the starving North Korean populace who have nothing to do with the game the little fat boy is playing. We should air drop boxes of Cheerios and warm socks for winter to the starving population. We can block any and all missiles they shoot in the air before they reach any targets.

    April 8, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. KrayziBone22

    Sorry but I'm not scared of the fat kid next door who eats too much candy and cupcakes

    I'm more scared of the people who keep trying to make N.Korea out as some Nazi Germany Regime. N.Korea can't wage war for longer than 2 weeks without running outtta bullets, bombs, gas, etc.. This is a complete scare tactic by the Military Industrial Complex.

    April 8, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Bill

    I hope that this young man is enjoying his ego trip because if war breaks out, millions of innocent, already suffering horribly North Koreans will pay the price for it.

    April 8, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Joe

    It's good to see a majority of Americans support kicking the crap out of NK if they start. It's nice to see Americans coming to together, even if it takes a war to do it. Haven't felt this good about the country since Whitney Houston sung the national anthem.

    April 8, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Tim

    Taking him out is more costly in terms of innocent lives, even if the outcome is in our favor, which it is. We should exhaust all diplomatic routes first.

    April 8, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. wwjd122

    Next time North Korea has a gathering in the square, let's send a cruise missle through, have it do a loop, then depart.

    April 8, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Ocelot562

    The fearmongering worked. Time for war!

    April 8, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Rocky

    Nice of CNN to get inside my head and tell me what I have been thinking! But sorry CNN, in reality you are telling me how to think – even worse you are pandering to a dictator by rewarding his intransigence by speaking on behalf of the 'American people'. Your pandering is pathetic. You have become a mouthpiece of the business interests who become have become fawning when they find themselves in a climate where they can not use the middle class kids as cannon fodder for yet another war. These business interests have killed the golden goose of the middle class for quick profits by outsourcing manufacturing while that's what most of our people are good for anymore. It is the lack of country oriented policy makers and dishonest news agencies that will bring about America's decline. Those who 'know' their stuff know that North Korea is nothing but China's lap dog – growling at a time when China is quietly edging out US dollar as an international currency through a newly signed agreement with Brazil.

    April 8, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. andres

    For those of you who call for war, are YOU willing to put YOUR life on the line, willing to have YOUR boots on the ground? For those of you who call for turning North Korea into a waste land, how about the almost 20 million PEOPLE who have little to no control of this situation who will be effected. Think, and then think again before you call for war. It didn't work out for us in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Why do you think it would work out for us in North Korea?

    April 8, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. nop

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

    Why ask people? You are the ones who graduate college and landed the best job.
    Do it what is best for you and country and what is right.

    April 8, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. cali girl

    It only takes the push of a button.

    April 8, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Nick

    Everyone writing off North Korea as not a real threat is being really short sighted. The entire situation could come down to whether or not China gets involved and how. If they decide to defend North Korea then this becomes a HUGE problem. If they let us smack Kim Jong Un down then it's still going to come at a high cost both in terms of human life and economic impact. And that idiot is probably crazy enough to nuke South Korea if he gets backed into a corner. He probably can't get a missile to the US but just because he's not going to be able to drop a bomb on Honolulu or Los Angeles doesn't mean he's not a threat.

    April 8, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Mark

    The time for diplomacy is over, since it's obvious he's trying to blackmail us into concessions yet again. I say wait for him to make the first move and then all bets are off.

    April 8, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. js870

    of course hell speak ill of us but you know he will use his IMAC desktop computer that we make with no problems at all.

    April 8, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Jimmy

    Mission accomplished. Now back to boring coverage of negotiations over Iranian Nuclear ambitions.

    April 8, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. DW

    If the media would stop sensationalizing and reporting this nonsense, people wouldn't care, and the DPRK would have nothing more to say.

    April 8, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. LIa

    Wow, amazing circular logic.
    CNN devotes lots of homepage space to NK story for at least a week, then CNN poll finds that people are aware of NK! Who'd have thought!

    April 8, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. roike

    CNN Breaking NEWS: If you're reading this you are at the CNN website.

    April 8, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. TJ

    This is a bunch of crap. I'm not worried about any of this. North Korea has nothing. Their soldiers are starving and their technology is from the 70's. I have friends living in South Korea that say they South Korean government is barely worried. They never hear anything about the North on news aside from a little tidbit here and there. I think this is just another attempt of the media machine to manufacture fear and ratings. Nobody cares about North Korea. They are not a threat. Let's move on.

    April 8, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. David Claytor

    For all the war mongers out there, traditional warfare as we know it is over. North Korea has two allies Iran and China. With our ever-increasing dependence on technology, cyber attack from these three allies would be catastrophic. The US is mighty in arms and weaponry but we are not superior in morality and as a result conservative nations are balking at us.

    April 8, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. 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-bassttards like Kim Dung 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 Dung Ug is to infiltrate North Korea, capture him, remove his head with a sharp object, stuff it up his butt and then run his body up that giant flag pole near the demilitarized zone.

    April 8, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Bill

    No. Kim does not have our attention. What has our attention is all the media printing a new threat story every single day. If the media printed a story each time a dog liked his sack then that sack would have our attention according to media.

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

    CNN Breaking News: If you are reading this you are at the CNN website.

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