April 8th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
10 years 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.

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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. Tony

    Blah blah blah...believe ME, the PIGLET is paying MORE attention (and so especially is his Aunt who "runs the show') to the United States. He only can *guess himself* what WE will do if he decides to launch his "test missiles" after we shoot them down. The PIGLET might be in the SURPRISE of his life. Especially if he explodes another nuclear weapon. Yet, I say let the reckless learn "the hard way."

    April 8, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Bill Ball

    Nobody is afraid of this wart, what we are afraid of is the number of innocent people he will take with him

    April 8, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. jayy

    first off not a single person in america is scared of NK.. that said its a lose-lose for NK..

    after all these threats if they dont strike they will be the laughing stock of the world.. but if they do they will be destroyed.. their leader reminds me of the big mouths in highschool.. all talk to look cool, then get pressed and ease back.

    April 8, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Dan

    P.S. Thanks for posting this. I repointed my default browser to another news source.

    April 8, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. greg

    This is not CNN's fault. NK has had ample time to join the international community but they choose not to. Many men and women have been wounded or killed to allow me the freedoms that I have had for the past 60 years and I would now take up arms to give my children and grandchildren that same opportunity. We just can not go on trying to appease every enemy. Haven't they already declared war on SK and we just wait and see? That's what we did with Hitler.

    April 8, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. Marc Johnson

    Who cares about N Korea, let them hand themselves, he is playing a game, he won't dare do anything, retaliation from the US would crumble his regime.

    April 8, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Brian

    All this craziness is just so that they can get away with some more missle and nuke testing without getting more sanctions dumped on them.

    April 8, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Cobra

    where the heck do you people do your polls??!! I swear sometimes CNN just makes stuff up...

    April 8, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. kodak

    I'm betting that North Korea is just trolling. You've got a child who is demanding the world pay attention to him...and he has to prove his manhood to the seasoned military leadership as well. If my 2 year old child was walking around with a live nuclear bomb, would you be worried?? It is the same thing we got going in North Korea.

    April 8, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. PJ

    I hope we can take him out!

    April 8, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Cobra

    CNN is slowly becoming FOX news if it hasnt already...

    April 8, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. D!

    What a joke CNN has become...and always feeding into maniacal dictators egos by making them headline news. Ridiculous. Getting rid of CNN as my homepage.

    April 8, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Big B

    Might wanna freshen up on your history Morgan. Maybe talk to someone who was in the Korean war or even Vietnam. Whose side is China and old Russia on? What digital device that you depend on is made in that part of the world and wont be easy to get if that part of the world is in a war? Are you in the military? You greatly overestimate what one B-2 will do.

    April 8, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Polar Bear

    I'm not worried at all. Little psycho imp is like a cartoon.

    April 8, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. Wes

    I'm not worried. The uhbama will run over, apologize and all will be forgiven.

    April 8, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. cpc65

    He just wants to be loved. Or nuked, or whatever.

    April 8, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. nik green

    Kim is the "new ape on the hill', swinging his arms wildly and beating his chest. He is of far less threat to Americans than the urban street gangs (domestic terrorists) who kill thousands every year... and nothing is done.

    April 8, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Johnny Cash

    SERIOUSLY, the only one ramping up tensions and putting fear into people's hearts is the media... I mean CMON you guys.

    April 8, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. RJC

    Why does it seem like CNN is actually drumming up support to go to war with this little creep?

    Hey only a few short weeks ago, CNN was singing the praises of one Dennis Rodman.

    The truth is... if this was a Republican in office the polls would be written to portray him as a saber rattling war monger, and we'd see all these protests and the alert given to the Human Shield Brigades to renew.

    Maybe Ted should just ask Jane to go over there again!

    April 8, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. m norcross

    I am not afraid of him, I am afraid for the people in the region. He will have his war, and lose badly.
    He will not back down, even if he wanted to, he cannot know. I can tell his ego will not allow that.

    The only thing I am truly concerned with is where China will stand?

    April 8, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Adam

    I'm really starting to hate CNN... talk to me when you have real news...

    April 8, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Rob

    ROFL who is scared? Are you serious I keep hoping fatboy makes a move so we can finish it.

    April 8, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Sean

    Now all that is needed is the false flag. Lookout Hawaii!!!

    April 8, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. dan barr

    CNN... Tells it as it is, nothing more nothing less... I'd bet Kim sends rockets flying On the Tenth that's tomorrow.
    The question: If this is so, will the rocket be loaded or just a test run ?. As Eastwood said in his movies.
    "Do you feel lucky Punk ?".

    April 8, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. LAdy Rose Washington state

    What some may think they do not fear is that they are not in the target area that would be attacked if NK chooses to unleash his so called nukes. I live in the seattle area. We are closest and would be hurt first. Being the biggest city Population. That would be sad to see a great city destroyed because some young ruler who has a big mouth ruin life for us here. LA would be also a big hit. HUMMM. Those that live on the west coast of the us do have a fear. But we live and walk forward in our lives. It is called a Healthy fear. Fear of the unknown but know that such threats will need to happen before we stop living. NK is just mouthing off. They think they are better than others and are no more of a bully than the kid next door that has no other thing to do in his life that to pick on someone else. What to do with bullies ois to teach them a lesson. WE DON:T ACCEPT BULLIES IN OUR LIVES< So stop threatening us and find another target. Bullies will not be tolerated in the US anymore. Why let this NK BULLY take hold of us. Stand up to a bully and they usually will back down. Tuck thier tails between thier legs and leave you alone. Advice stand up to this bully make him back down and run away. Just my advise. Yes i have dealt with many bullies in my life. This works well.

    April 8, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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