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. New Yorker

    The biggest threat to this country is what Obama and the liberals are planning and implementing. Once this nation is weakened by their ideology and legislation, we won't have the strength or means to fight off any threats. If things don't turn around North Korea won't have to lift a finger against us; they'll just kick back and laugh.

    July 2, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. Aaron, Maryland

    So, are you going to tell us if any of N Korea's launch tests ACTUALLY have the range to hit us, or is the Reality of the situation of no importance. . . just public's opinion of it?
    100% of 3 year olds in my home think when you die, you can "just start the game over" 100% thats public mandate.
    So, no supportive information just opinion. I guess thats good reporting.

    July 2, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. Thomas

    Polls have their use but this is not one of them. Really, what do many of the citizens know about North Korea other than what they read in the media?

    July 2, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. patNY

    Count this Liberal Democrat as 100% in favor of a full military strike against North Korea even if any of its missle tests come within 500 miles of Hawaii or even Alaska....even would say, nuke 'em!

    July 2, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Pa Santigie

    North Korea posses no credible threat to the US....this is just another imagined threat the US wants to create in the minds of the people.
    No country in the world would attack the US... and risk the end of their existence. No! Al Qaeda was not a country. Even the most erratic of despots knows in the recesses of their mind that an attack on the US will bring a swift end to their life.
    All North Korea is doing is posturing to keep the outside world from know the directions the winds of change are blowing. they do not want any outsiders influencing that change. which makes all the sense to me.
    So all this hoopla about getting prepared for a possible attack on the US is mere propaganda. If the US is does not have the necessary assets in place to prevent such an attack then the government must tell us why all the militarization of space with satellites and communications gadgets all over the world. And must tell us why we spend

    July 2, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. Mississippi Mike

    North Korea is depleting it's missile supply by shooting them in our general direction. Obama is depleting our missile supply by dismantling them. Are they both hell-bent on the destruction of the US? Sure looks like it.

    July 2, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. John Black Hills/SD

    Why is it that China is no where to be seen or heard from with scolding words to their step child N. Korea. We should try to manipulate the trajectory of N. Korea's missile tests so that they land in N. Korea's supreme leaders prized alcohol supplies. A person going through withdrawal symptoms will likely give their keys of the family rocket to the distillery who delivers the drug. If we just get the leadership to smoke some good weed, and the fighting goes out like a flame in a vacuum.

    July 2, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. Idea

    I saw an interview with a guy who lives in that part of the world that discussed the propaganda effort being made against the North Koreans. They associate Jung as being a god. With the anti-american sentiment they are grown up with embedded in their culture any direct contact militarily simply will not work. (If you thought the insurgency was bad in Iraq, would be nothing compared to what happens in N. Korea). I think the US should 'unofficially' join this movement, and fund more 'balloon propaganda drops' that the South Koreans have undertaken. There needs to be an underground educational movement in North Korea. Once it's citizens learn the truth of the outside world and the hypocrisy of it's leaders, they will become N. Korea's greatest enemy.

    July 2, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Right Leaning Independent

    American Politicians are a far more serious threat to America!!!

    July 2, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Open Your 3rd Eye


    North Korea is a TINY country which does nothing but TALK, TALK, TALK...

    You people need to grow a pair and stop fearing every single tiny threat or dislike toward our country.


    If North Korea actually attacked the United States they know good and well they would be (as Hillary stated) OBLITERATED!

    They don't stand a chance in Hades against us and THEY KNOW IT.

    Everything you are witnessing is just for show, no action.

    They can set-off their little firecrackers all day every day as far as I'm concerned. I would not lose a wink of sleep.

    America listen to me for a moment, this world will always be filled with men with dark hearts. The United States, or any other country, will not EVER wipe evil off the globe. That task is impossible for man because it is not the job of man.

    Live your lives in peace, if others choose war trust me when I tell you God will deal with them in His own time. It is not our place.


    July 2, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. jim

    When I was young I would have laughed at the thought of North Korea being a threat to the U.S. Having witnessed the American government's (not the troops') performance in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, I am not nearly so confident. Sometimes I wonder how we prevailed in Grenada !!!

    July 2, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  12. David

    Earlier this year North Korea conducted long range missile tests and missed their target by a couple of thousand miles. When I was a kid, we used the term "Can't hit the broad side of a barn" for anyone who was a lousy marksman. Well, North Korea can't hit the broad side of a continent. They might be a credible threat in ten years but for now they're just an annoying joke.

    July 2, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Rick CT

    A U.S. official told CNN "the missile firings come as no surprise."

    "The North has been carrying out provocative acts for some time," said the official, who did not want to be named for security reasons. "North Korea needs to stop this type of activity and return to the process of bringing about a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

    I'm sure that'll do it !!! We're on top of this now (along with the UN).

    July 2, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Ryan Indy

    Yep, and Obama is doing NOTHING. He is all talk (with his telemprompter) and no action. When Bush was in office other countries might not have liked him but they respected him and feared him, with Obama they neither like him nor Respect him. God help us all over the next 3 1/2 yrs.

    July 2, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. kishen c.rao

    we said the same about Iraq and poured lot of money and still paying leaving our problems like fixing health care, energy independence, and economy etc, totally unattended....no more sacrifice...first nation, then others...These republicans keep nagging...ok

    July 2, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. johnnie

    north korea ,is not a threat to the united states and that cnn poll is bogus,who are you polling cnn,your only calling your base.north korea is no match for the most powerful country on earth, the reason cnn is using this rigth wing scare tactics, is because of president obama , trying to strike fear in the american people. we wipe them off the face of the earth if they tried a threat, they dont have technology to even lanch an attack. who are these 1,026 americans that you are polling, i tell you who it is the right wing,cnn needs to be honest with the american people and stop this fear attack. north korea is not a threat america.period.

    July 2, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. New Yorker

    . Those who are old enough/know a bit about history may remember what Lenin said about us falling like a ripe plum. Unfortunately, the youngsters who have been raised in the government school system and liberal colleges are clueless. This is why Obama receives his greatest support from them. Where does the greatest threat lie? In well-meaning minds of the Socialist/Communist community organizers and politicians in this country. Is this comment too great a threat to CNN?

    July 2, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. Mike

    And obama cuts missile defense. Change you can believe in.

    July 2, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Brandon

    Yay for the paranoia of the masses!

    July 2, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Kirsten, LA

    I have faith in God and his hand is on President Obama.

    July 2, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Bill

    Iran, North Korea, China and Russia are nothing.....the biggest threat to America, by far, is Obama!!! $2 trillion in deficit given away to friends of Obama, wealthy bankers, toxic assets and unionists. Obama is the ANTI-CHRIST!!!

    July 2, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Champly

    Oh lordy...no doubt this poll will cause BHO to double up on his hand-wringing time over this issue. That will scare the North Koreans pelosiless no doubt.

    July 2, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Tim P

    How sad that those 3/4 of people polled are cowardly and have no faith in the fact that our military will defend our shores against any missile attack and retaliate with a barrage never before seen on the face of the planet.

    July 2, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. William R.

    North Korea?!?!?!


    They are the LAST thing we need to fear.

    China will nuke them in a second.

    July 2, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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