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. Heime

    CNN must be sorely lacking in things to report about. I don't know of anyone who is even remotely worried about N.K. At most we are mildly curious about those strange little creatures.

    April 8, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. michael

    Nice spin by the White House/CIA/FBI/DHS and others on Kimmy's rethoric. Do you really think anyone cares about Kim and North Korea? No. The fact of the matter is that the US is creating a way for Kim and his Government a way out of this mess. I will expect Kim and the Government of North Korea to suggest that diplomacy is a better venue. This is especially true given the US is ultimatly responsible for this mess by not supporting/allowing North and South Korea to sign a formal peace agreement.

    Next steps: Kim will suggest peace talks – the US will endorse this. Kim will look like a "world leader" in avoiding war and everyone will be happy.


    April 8, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Hopey Changey

    And Obama says.......nothing. Every other president in my lifetime (and that's a long time) would have already gone on tv to talk to the American people. This fool disappears to a golf game and fundraising events. What a loser.

    April 8, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Gerald

    So why aren't we hovering a drone over this little terrorist? King Jon Dumb.

    April 8, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. stephen douglas

    He has my attention like a Looney Tunes cartoon with the Roadrunner and Willie E. Coyote.

    Let's just drop an anvil or piano on the sob and be done with it.

    April 8, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. James Wind

    We're listening only because its all the media will talk about. Personally, I'm not concerned. This is just another example of the media creating news for themselves to report on.

    April 8, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. cedaly1968

    South Korea will get hammered by the North's rockets but I think the North will sustain a severe if not permanent blow.

    April 8, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Gerald

    So why aren't we hovering a drone over this little terr or ist? King Jon Dumb.

    April 8, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. JonfromLI

    I'd love to know how many, of those polled, are registered democrats vs. republicans. Republicans would just love for us to get involved in yet another unending war at the expense of taxpayers – while still whining and complaining about bailout money with the Obama Administration.

    April 8, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. kuskokid

    This is nothing, if U.S. don't resolve this one. North Korea will be a greater threat to U.S. in the future. This time with ballistic missiles that can reach mainland U.S.A.

    April 8, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Badly-Bent

    Definately a limited number of adjectives that one can use to exercise their freedom of expression!

    April 8, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Alex

    Really? I find their posturing slightly amusing and irritating at the same time. Kind of like a clown.

    April 8, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. steve

    It is headlines like yours that feeds his ego. CNN, you are not helping the situation

    April 8, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Gerald

    Can you say drone strike?

    April 8, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. T

    He is a little man. All he wants is attention and doesn't realize that every time we see his face in the media all we do is laugh!! His country is in shambles and his "daddy" had to do this every other year or so just so they got their welfare check from the UN so the misguided followers thought their leaders were so strong. Kim Jong Ying Yang is a fat little pudgy boy. I dare the little man to launch any rocket or missile...

    April 8, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. SkyKing169

    Let's get this over with.
    Fake him out into thinking our guard is down and let him attack us or our allies.
    We'll annihilate NK in a day or two.
    Then we can redirect our attention back to the business of rebuilding our own infrastructure.
    Stupid Fat Kid.

    April 8, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. fed up

    no he does not have our attention YOU the gov controlled media does ... what else is there to read about? If you wouldn't put him in the news he would not be there. Period.

    April 8, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. Steve

    He's the only fat person in North Korea.

    April 8, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well, no doubt CNN and other media outlets would love for each of us to believe we are very worried about North Korea.

    Anything to get us tuned in, I suspect.

    Thanks, but no thanks, CNN.

    April 8, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. cjacja

    I wonder if NK has an exit plan? They can't continue like this for another 50 years. They must know this.

    April 8, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. isolate

    The change in opinion is due almost entirely to media hype, not a change in conditions. Remember George W Bush's year-long propaganda campaign to make Americans think Saddam was a threat? That was malicious. This is simply the media desperate for headlines when nothing is happening. Would NK actually be preparing for war if it's still inviting in tour groups? A correspondent in Pyongyang says that last week the biggest activity on the military base there was planting spring flowers.

    April 8, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. @just saying

    north korea wouldn't be going as far as they are going if it wasn't for the stupid airheads like you that listens to too much fox new in this country. it only invites these types of confrontations. But, fear not, if NK is going to send a nuke, the best place they will start will be SK. no US casualties outside of SK of course, except the people in our base there, then again it doesn't matter to you though. what you see through your eye, is just a bunch of nobodys running amok like a bunch of headless chickens, that may die to something that doesn't concern you. i must be right, because you are obviously wrong, and if you argue you care, then you are full of c and s.

    April 8, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Mony

    Roast Kim Jung Pig now.

    April 8, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Nicole

    It's not just the US that is worried and rightfully so, us Canadians are worried too!!

    April 8, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Paul

    Honestly the fear has gripped our life. I am not sure whether my kids will live peacefully in this world or not. USA used to lead the world during many crises. Now, many countries are sefl-centered and this has resulted in so many dangerous nuclear countries in this world. Sometimes I say in my mind, it is better not to have chidren , so that everything ends with me.

    April 8, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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