CNN Poll:  North Korean threat imminent?
December 20th, 2010
05:37 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: North Korean threat imminent?

(CNN)–Most Americans say that North Korea does not pose an immediate threat to the United States, but a new national survey indicates that more than half say that the U.S. should use troops to help defend South Korea if the country is attacked by its northern neighbors.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday, support for using U.S. troops to defend South Korea crosses political boundaries. More than half of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents believe the U.S. should use troops in the case of an attack against South Korea. More Republicans-68 percent-support the notion than Democrats or Independents, and more men support the hypothetical action than women.

View the full results

"The number who support U.S. intervention if South Korea were attacked has risen significantly since 1994, when only 45 percent supported the use of U.S. troops to defend against an attack by North Korea," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

On November 23, North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, part of a group of South Korean islands, killed four people. The South Korean military staged a live-fire drill Monday near the same location where the November attack took place. Though North Korean officials warned that the drill could spark military reaction, the exercise ended peacefully and military leaders from North Korea later stated that retaliation wasn't necessary.

North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator invited Democratic New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to the country to discuss the growing strain between the two neighbors last week.

CNN's "The Situation Room" Anchor Wolf Blitzer, who accompanied Richardson on his trip, noted the amount of tension in that country while reporting Friday from Pyongyang. "Richardson is urging restraint everywhere he goes. He's really worried that this situation is, in his words, a 'tinderbox' where one miscalculation could lead to all-out war."

The CNN/Opinion Research poll was conducted from December 17-19 among 1,008 adults by telephone.  It has a sampling error of plus-or-minus three percentage points.

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.

Filed under: CNN poll • North Korea • Polls • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. GonzoinHouston

    Got a flash for ya, South Korea won't need our help to win a conventional conflict. All they need us for now is to threaten a nuclear retaliation if Kim tries to set off a nuke outside his borders. The balance of power changed somewhere in the 80's.

    Today South Korea fields a tough, professional, well-trained and well-equipped modern force, on par with Israel, Germany, and others. NK has more manpower and lots of artillery massed at the DMZ, but lacks the machines of a modern army. Most of their tanks pre-date the T-72. SK fields M1-A1 tanks, Apache attack helos, F-16's, up-do-date communications, etc, etc. The north's special forces could do a lot of damage, but not enough to change the outcome of a conflict.

    The truth is South Korea is now much larger in population, stronger militarily, and so far ahead economically it's scary. Without their half-fast nukes NK wouldn't be able to lay a glove on the south. Right now South Korea could buy the North out of petty cash, and Kim's greatest fear is that someday they'll do it.

    December 20, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    It's a great gig, this "news" business. Invent convenient narrative that is easily senationalized, hard-sell it to the public, skip any real information (especially any that would contradict the narrative), poll a random sample to make sure whether your fabricated narrative is taking root, then use that poll to further the narrative as though it is, itself, actually "news." It's like a self-perpetuating profit merry-go-round...

    ...unless of course yuo consider being a benefit to society part of the definition of profit.

    December 20, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  3. Danny Cali

    So......, why we have to help them? they are family and relative only. I think they have to take them self or let them become one Country because they are Korea they don't want to kill each other if we don't give them a tools.

    December 20, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. once upon a horse

    if our "alli" North Korea DOES become a bigger threat, I'm sure the far right will blame President Obama for it. I mean he's only kept us safe for two years now so he's about due.

    December 20, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. Narazazen

    Great! That's more than half of America should be in line for the draft and/or war material effort, so that we can fight and win a Second Korean War. Oh... no... wait...

    December 20, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. LOLGuy

    In other words, this poll shows ...exactly the same numbers as a poll in 1994 did.


    December 20, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The one comment here demonstrates the abysmal lack of historical perspective that all news has, the media actually functioning as war mongers and increasing tensions, which have now predictably ended. N Korea has no deliverable nukes, maybe a couple huge and unwieldy ones, with no way to deliver them, but the nuke issue keeps coming up, while the US has 10000. The commenter thinks it would be a walk over because of technology, tell that to the Viet Namese, people win wars not technophiles with no soul. But the US population , being 24th in math and science , and maybe off the charts in geography ignorance , having been dumbed down to serve the bankster corporatofascists interests, these interests who want to create fear too, and justify their war machine to distratct from 20% unemployment, and the possible demise of the system, control people, and dominate economically with violence and power. This is a recurring pattern and process in history, when systems evolve far enough and are about to move to the next level, with the crises preceding that change , immigrants become scapegoats, the enemy out there becomes the battle cry to manipulate the masses, blaming and raging replace the civilized social contract that had existed, while the new one prepares to replace it.

    December 20, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |