July 2nd, 2009
10:20 AM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: North Korea a very serious threat to the U.S.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A majority of Americans think that North Korea represents a very serious threat, and nearly three-quarters believe that country has missiles which could strike the United States, according to a new national poll.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that North Korea is arguably the biggest threat to the U.S. in the public's mind.

"Fifty-two percent say that country is a very serious threat, higher than the 43 percent who feel that way about Iran and much higher than the 20 percent who feel that way about China or the 11 percent who think Russia threatens the U.S," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Nearly three out of four questioned in the poll believe North Korea has a missile that could reach at least as far as Hawaii. More than nine in 10 favor military action if North Korea does attempt to hit the U.S. with a missile.

North Korea test-fired a fourth short-range missile off its east coast Thursday, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported. South Korea's Defense Ministry had earlier confirmed three launches, but could not immediately be reached about the fourth reported missile.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted June 26-28, before Thursday's test firings by North Korea. In the survey 1,026 adult Americans were questioned by telephone. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

Filed under: North Korea
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Come on, Obama just needs to talk to them.

    July 2, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Obama Victim

    and how many days have those girls been held in North Korea now?? nice going Obozo

    July 2, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Randolph Carter

    North Korea is so backward they probably have a couple of missiles which may or may not work, they've got a couple of nukes, but supposedly are years away from being able to put a nuke on a missile. I'd say the main threat from North Korea is a chemical attack and invasion of South Korea. In which case you know we'd just have to get involved. North Korea is just rattling their cage in order to get attention and more foreign aid. They're basically a loser country that can not even feed their people without foreign aid. It would be great to just ignore them and starve them out. But then they'd do something really crazy and desperate. That wouldn't be good. Hopefully dear leader will kick the bucket soon and a more reasonable little warlord will take his place. Probably not, though. Have a nice day!

    July 2, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. Fair is Fair

    An apology?
    A "reset button"??
    A statement saying "we're concerned"???

    What to do... what to do...

    July 2, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. Enough

    They are a HUGE threat. They know Obama is a weak leader and are toying around with us to see what he will do, besides give a "harsh" speech.

    July 2, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. D-Nice

    CNN, a news organization that is supposed to inform the populace, seems to love publishing polls that show how ignorant the average American is.

    North Korea would be lucky if they managed to hit Japan, let alone Hawaii. CNN should really try harder to educate people about the world around them, rather than stir up political turmoil by perpetuating myths.

    North Korea is a troubled country with sociopathic leaders, but they are still a long way from being a serious threat.

    I'm actually surprised that the people picked NK over Iran given the three weeks of "OMG Ayatollah is teh evil!" coverage.

    July 2, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. dave gunderson

    N. Korea tries to hold the world ransom with petty threats and have gotten their way in the past. These days the international community says no more. With time, N. Korea with take this to the next level, away from petty threats towards serious action. I feel that the world should do the world a favor and dispose of this "crazy" and his regime.
    Hmm... one question to leave on your mind; How can we ever do anything with our "great friend China" holding so much of our debt?

    July 2, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Kevin in Ohio

    Too bad our President doesn't have a clue.

    July 2, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Stuffit

    A public opinion poll of 1,026 "adult Americans" , of whom half probably can't find North Korea on a map, does not a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) make.

    How many of those polled know what the capitol of North Korea is, the name of its leader, or could explain what "juche" is?

    Do they have nuclear weapons? Yes. Do they have missiles? Yes!

    Are those missiles reliable and effective enough to be used as a delivery vehicle for their nuclear weapons? No. Have they obtained the capability to mount their weapons on one of those missiles? No.

    Are their guidance systems on the missiles of high quality and accurate?

    Is the fact that they possess missiles and nukes a concern? It is, and is a situation worth monitoring.

    They are a huge threat to South Korea, (and by proxy to the US because we have troops in South Korea) but only because their conventional forces are so numerous and the only delivery system needed to nuke Seoul is a big truck that will carry a nuclear device. With or without the nukes, this large conventional force has been a concern on the peninsula for decades.

    July 2, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. GI Joe

    Hmmm – of those 1026 brilliant people polled, how many actually sit in on the daily briefings and have direct access to all the data about these things?

    Waiting ........................ chirp chirp

    That's what I thought. Another useless poll of ignorant (not stupid) people leading the national "news" (read that as National Inquirer type propaganda).

    July 2, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Hugo

    Yes, those nasty old North Koreans with their nuclear proliferation! I'll tell you though as bad as they are you really have to watch those old Hondurans, the nerve of them enforcing their constitutional laws from being over run by a potential dictator. Lifetime extension of holding political office by one person like Hugo Chavez, what socialist or Marxist wouldn't want that? No wonder Obama is so concerned with Honduras, what if this horrible practice of cutting the head off of an oppressive or incompetent government were to spread to America?

    July 2, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. scooter

    We should be worried about it, also we should be worried about afgahanastan. but it doesnt include any WacoJacko news so it is just left on the back page.

    July 2, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Chuck Paisley

    Not to worry! POTUS has everything in control...

    July 2, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Henry Miller

    "Fifty-two percent say that country [North Korea] is a very serious threat..."

    Thereby proving that fifty-two percent of Americans are incompetent to assess the threat.

    July 2, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. James M. Holmes

    North Korea is the biggest "Paper Tiger" on the planet... "Little Kim" is nothing but another two-bit tyrant... Keep an eye on them, but don't let them scare you! That is exactly what N. Korea is trying to do... just trying to get some respect from the "big kids" on the block!

    July 2, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Bombs Away

    Was Obama included in the poll? He doesn't seem to concerned that a NK missle could reach his grandparents' house.

    July 2, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. RR

    North Korea is lauging in Obama's face. They have no repsect for him, and he has no idea what to do.

    July 2, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Besides for Al Queda, N. Korea is the only "credible" threat. I'm not worried about them firing a missle in this direction because I know we'll shoot it down. Honestly, I hope the N. Koreans are that dumb to try it. That will give us all the more reason for us to bomb them until they are obliterated.

    July 2, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. WhoCares?

    How are they a serious threat to the US?

    Tough talk?

    N. Korea only exists because of China. As soon as they become more of a detrement than a positive to China....they won't have China's protection to fall back on.

    If they actually launch a missle at another country...they will be wiped off the face of the planet by the collective world...including China.

    July 2, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  20. Once You Vote Black

    I dont like the idea of them saying they will bomb Hawaii, and wipe us from the face of the map. We should get them for that.

    July 2, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. Fred NJ

    Almost as much of a threat as our current administration!

    Maddoff goes to jail for ripping off a few billion dollars while BO is hailed as a hero while ripping off TRILLION$.

    Who's the bigger fish and threat?!

    July 2, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Eric

    So, when it comes to healthcare, you present 51% as "barely half the country". But, when it comes to fear mongering, excuse me, national security, you present 52% as "the majority of the US".

    Great journalism, CNN!

    July 2, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. lxm

    before all the hate and discontent starts flying this is an extremely important issue, It seems as though CNN does not allow comments on certain issues as it might upset the Almighty Obama. and his screwed up agenda!!!

    July 2, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Freedom of Speech

    Heck for they were in 1949-51 also but did we do anything besides run. Just like we're doing in Iraq. Especially since they were not even the ones we should have attacked. I'm tired of this bullcrap. Don't get in the ring even with Muhammad Ali unless you're determined to win otherwise stand there and take the beating you deserve. America is so stup[id. Now we have Irran, Korea, Afghanistan, Nothing settled in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Pakistan Sudia Aradia after our tails but yet we're turning tail once more. Ther is no respect for America the great savior of demorcracy only money grabbing, sex-crazed politicians and hippie's children with no stomash for war are running this country. Wait until they're beheaded by Osama Bin Laden.

    July 2, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    And what is Husseins and Clinton's tough response to these fruitcakes? They are going to request NKorean ships stop and allow inspection, but if NKorea says no, they won't do anything. In addition, Hillary is going to write a nasty note. This is administration has wet noodle tendencies. What a bunch of fools.

    July 2, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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