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. livingston

    Yes, he has our attention but like most spoiled children throwing a tantrum, he will not like the response if he doesn't stop.

    April 8, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. BlackDynamite

    The whiny baby that wants your attention has gotten it?

    Why don't we indulge him some more?

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. liberal disease


    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. 1kwood1

    I might be crazy, but doesn't it seem almost like this is all scripted sometimes? I mean, it's almost like they are trying to convince us all that we expect, or even want a military confrontation. And they keep throwing all these "what if" scenarios out there, describing how war could start 'accidentally' by some miscalculation or misunderstanding, going so far as to lay out what will happen when war does break out. Seems a little ominous to me.

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Mr Baxter

    Go and read english language news from Asia. They are NOT worried about this. They are more worried about a new outbreak of Bird Flu. If the pople who can actually suffer from a NK attack are not worried, then I'll not get too worked up.

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. tachowar

    In what decade was this photo taken ?

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. joe

    Why would any one worry didn't Obama promise that he would just talk to our anemies and they would come running good will to all. HA HA

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Gusto

    Pfftttt...let's do it!

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Lew

    This guy is no different than his father. All talk and rhetoric. They can run their tests all they want, but at the end of the day nothing ever materializes. He like his father wouldnt be stupid enough to attack the US. Attacking Seoul is a different matter, but the US would be suicide. He knows that! NOT WORRIED!

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Ben the Cat

    Lil Kim has the full support and evny of the USA's NRA... Wayne La Gunslinger wishes for everyone to have a nuclear weapon, just like Kimmy. Now N. Korea has a 2nd amendment to be proud of!!

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Goblin King

    Beat the war drums.

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |

    OH YEA
    were so skeered!
    I understand that Kim is just trying to boost his position but he is being just another stepchild, Let's hope he takes the "exit" ramp. Personally, I could give a chit if he lives or dies. I have an intrest in the 3 concentration camps, and if we do have to go in, those folks need rescued! 1 thing to say to Kimmi boy , want to be loved by your people? FEED THEM!

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Perfect example of the MSM feedback loop: demagoguery demagoguery demagoguery, then "oh look, our poll results show it's working," followed by ramping up the demagoguery. Then everyone stops at some point 10 years later and goes 'wait...how the fark did we end up in this war and how are we going to pay for it?"

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. chet

    He is not threat and should realize that if he tries to sneeze in the wrong direction NK will not make it through the 1st week of a conflict – if that!

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Yuri

    The North Korea issue is a proof rogue nations can not pursue nuclear weapons. They are prooving what UN has stated for years and years. DPRK barelly has a nuclear weapon and it is already threatening to use n another nation.

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Oh look...another misguided son who wants to go to war to finish what daddy started....

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. LouieD

    What other kind of poll results would you expect when "news" outlets like CNN continually overreport the impotent ranting of a fat little dork with a bad haircut?

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. bkjcjr

    Congratulations Baby Kim. It appears that your little temper tantrum now has the attention you so earnestly desire. And now it appears that you have convinced a majority of Americans that if you so much as sneeze in the wrong direction, it is time to take you to the woodshed permanently. Most of the time it is better to fly under the radar unnoticed. Time to change your strategy, because once you begin to fill your pants due to fear, it will be too late.

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. polecatblue

    Can the world please get rid of this corrupt regime and free its people.

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. Bentley

    I'm pretty level headed, but I can't imagine who CNN polled. Yes, anyone with a brain knows that N Korea is a threat. Lose sleep over this moron? Nope, won't do that.

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Jim

    just sayin – stupid comment. The biggest loser in an armed conflict will be South Korea. If fighting breaks out, NK has thousands of rockets it can rain down on Seoul. It is easy for you to support military action safe in your little home, but if you lived in SK you might have a different perspective. War maybe necessary, but if at all possible, it should be avoided,

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. sebon sheffield

    North Koreans are stupid and ignorant better think twice what they do.

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. maximus

    Obama needs to step up as a leader and just call the guy and ask, "Ok Ok what is it that you want, and what will you give in return?"
    Take him to a NBA game for petes sake, after all he loves bball. Then all will be just fine.
    No need for all this military ratcheting up...

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    CNN did you just run Breaking News about how much I've been reading your Breaking News?

    Get out!

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. just sayin

    They aren't a threat, even if they are attacking, they can't hit anything of ours, but we do have to defend our troops, and help south korea which is an ally, but we aren't alone in that

    yes, a million man plus army, thousands and thousands of missiles and artillery batteries trianed on seoul, south korea and 30-40,000 us troops close to the dmz. no threat? wht dream world do you live in? and who else will be lining up to help us? the only ones we can usually count on are britain, canada, australia and poland.

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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