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. DJFarkus

    Perhaps a growing number of Americans believe NK is a direct threat. Then again, a growing number of Americans are ignorant morons. One of them asked me this weekend whether America sided with North or South Korea during the Korean War.

    Ignore this little bridge troll from Pyongyang. He will be out of a job within 2 years. Just watch...

    April 8, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Agnar150

    What happened to preempted strikes that the US government used to protect us from when we wanted Iraq? Why can't our government protect us from North Korea the same way?

    April 8, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. dalewalk

    41% of Americans feel threatened by North Korea? I doubt that. Everyone I know is laughing over their absurd threats and hopes the day will come soon that we squash them like the little bug they are.
    I think if CNN wasn't bombarding browsers and TV audiences every hour of the day with coverage and unending video of Un surveying landscapes and replaying the goosestepping of his soldiers down Main St....some Americans wouldn't be so rattled.
    But 41%? C'mon CNN, we all know how much your team wants to stir up histerity just to sell the news, but you've gone overboard on just about every issue out there.

    April 8, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. frank/michigan

    we should just drop one bomb on them and that would be the end of those low life

    April 8, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. cpc65

    Pic 1: I see they have their own version of the RI State Highway Crew. Everyone standing around leaning on shovels. All that's missing is a big cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee in one hand.

    April 8, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Kevin H

    Tiny little secret. The US didn't win WWII because of ideology. Not because we were right. Not because we were just. We may have been all of the above. The US won because we squeezed the Germans until they were dry. Despite their best efforts they couldn't get the petroleum they needed to keep their army, navy and the like going. If China and its neighbors simply shut off the flow of everything to North Korea, North Korea would be starved in every single way. It's sad because that then causes unthinkable famine. But the masses will hold out. But what Pyongyang can't do is survive without petrol. No matter the ICBM or whatever it is – it requires fossil fuel. Move troops – fossil fuel. Move ships: fossil fuel. North Korea could not survive one day without supplies from China. They'd be finished in about three months. Even if they managed to take over the South they could be starved out of energy resources in very short order.

    April 8, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. Big Mama

    Oh, we're listening alright. He's woken a very big, sleeping giant. North Korea should be very cautious who they poke.

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

    We should send in a SEAL team to take this joker out. Then we wouldn't have to worry about Americans being 'scared.' What a joke..

    April 8, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. InsertCoolSoundingUsernameHere

    IMPORTANT: Comments on CNN news articles are read by people all around the world, including those in North Korea. Take caution in your words, since you could trigger a war if you anger the wrong people.

    April 8, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. hank

    A drone attack??

    April 8, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Eddy Jenkins

    Lets face it, this comes down to one thing. What Kim has in his pants, which is dwarfed by a mosquito. He's trying to make up for it, and failing miserably.

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

    When you have nukes you are a player on the world stage. U.S. cannot do anything about it. Missiles will be launched by North Korea and the U.S. will respond with more hot air. If this was Iran and threats were made just like North Korea is doing now the U.S. would be going to war with Iran. The main difference is North Korea has nukes and Iran does not.
    That makes all the difference in the world.

    April 8, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Jacksonlowerkeys

    And the market rose today

    April 8, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. tom

    "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." -D! , I had to quote that because this was exactly what I wanted to say.

    April 8, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Ellen/Maine

    I say, lets go in and just do it. Lets teach this man boy a lesson, on what this world is all about.

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

    People relax, this idiot is just toying with us. I'm sure he just likes the attention!!!

    April 8, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. JMS

    America is listening to fat boy dear leader. I guess that puts him in the same category with Kim Kardashian.

    April 8, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Matt

    "Say, Kimboy, lemme show you some photos of the last Pacific Rim nation that yanked our chain..."

    April 8, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Peace Angel

    Rodman ....Give your buddy a snickers already....

    April 8, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. Common Sense

    They would throw their weapons on the ground like the iraqis and beg for us to take them away.

    April 8, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. McShannon

    I believe CNN is mistaken about any fear of North Korea. I get around a lot and I can't recall one conversation that anyone is afraid of what North Korea might do. In fact most common reaction is that North Korea will suffer the most damage of which it cannot recover than any target that they foolishly care to chose. If they want to lose their Navy and air force in a matter of hours it's possible and a likely reaction to any unprovoked attack. Once it begins it will end quickly from a no mercy counter attack by USA and South Korea.

    April 8, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Kerry

    Please, tell this man his 15 minutes is up.

    April 8, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Name

    Nobody is scared of north korea period. This chubby guy with the bad hair cut looks like an american idol reject.

    April 8, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. drasil52

    What most people are missing are the sheer number of casualties that will happen in this conflict, even if Russia and China doesn't get involved. Over a million troops storming sough can put a lot of bullets in the air, nor to mention their tanks and arty. Can we win, absolutely. But, are we willing to pay the price in our sons and daughters to win it?

    April 8, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. rofler

    CNN lectures people that North Korea is getting their attention, when CNN does nothing but report on North Korea. It's like getting lectured by your drug dealer on the dangers of addiction.

    April 8, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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