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. PaganScorp

    @ just sayin

    I'm not even from your country and I know what you're saying is total crap. Your own high ranking military officers say that spending needs to be cut, that they have a massive surplus. Try informing yourself maybe.

    April 8, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Intrepid

    At worst, the situation with N. Korea is just annoying. At best, it's entertaining. I'm about as concerned about this as much as II would be worried about a pitbull getting barked at by a chiwawa. We can eat N. Korea for lunch.

    April 8, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. CJ

    North Korea is a threat but their 1960's technology military is not impressive. If it was the World War II Era they would be considered a strong force but in today's world they are small potatoes. If they attack South Korea or the United States it will be the last thing Kim Jong Un ever does.

    April 8, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. N Fischer

    Wow, when your own internal poll is breaking headline news, you have sunk to new lows.

    April 8, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. NgauHuPhart

    Your poll shows the concern, because yours is the only news agency that shoves the North Korean story into every orifice of our bodies for weeks at a time. There IS other news out there. The little fat kid is just throwing a tantrum.. Ultimately, the Chinese will keep him in check.

    April 8, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Bye Cnn

    Thanks for letting him know that some people are as paranoid as is humanly possible CNN. Way to make him feel pride in his ridiculous actions. I have a feeling you made him smile and feel vilified. As such, in my eyes you are catering to a monster. Take your polls and shove them. You lost me as a viewer today.

    Signed –
    A longtime CNN viewer
    I've been with you since the beginning of your network in 1980 and I watched you crumble and decline from a respected news outlet, into a nearly tabloid rag that feeds off of pot stirring non-journalism. Now if you will excuse me I'm off to find a new news outlet.

    April 8, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    The recent decision on our part to scratch a missile test can only embolden the Funny Runt even further, as it gives the impression that we are afraid of his reactions.

    Better that we put on a demonstration of our ability to simply reduce his entire nation to ashes. Put a scrap ship like an old oil tanker out in the ocean about 200 miles off North Korea's eastern shore then announce the day, hour and minute that we will obliterate it with an ICBM carrying a conventional explosive that we will launch from the continental US.

    Invite the Funny Runt and his associated runts to witness the event from the deck of our largest aircraft carrier. Tell him that Dennis is also invited.

    April 8, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. david shoup

    I think "Un" just wants instant God status in NK. I believe NK is a Communist country except for the Generals and Rodman's friend "Un". Just think what Samsung could do for the people of NK. Capitalism may contain many evils but also many goods.

    April 8, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. barclay donaldson

    ..fatboy does something stupid like throw a missile at a US base or South K base he will get lots of attention...all bad!

    April 8, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. mandy

    does anyone else just want to pinch his chubby cheeks?

    April 8, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Adam Strachan

    We have nothing to worry about North Korea all talk and no show this is
    "the Cold War part 2"
    That is all this is one if joke

    April 8, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. MarylandBill

    I am not sure what the North Korean government is hoping to gain by engaging in brinksmanship with South Korea and the United States. I doubt they really want to restart the Korean war, but when tensions get high enough even an accident could result in tens of thousands of deaths.. particularly if nukes get used.

    April 8, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Hopeful

    History has proven that no one wins with the "my toys are bigger than your toys" crap. Leaders lead, not derogate. Don't we all breath oxygen, have stinky bowel movements and bleed when cut. How about we start with that premise and work up from there? Power is such a terrible thing to waste.

    April 8, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. InMyHappyPlace

    Don't we have some CIA sleeper cells still over there that could fix all this for us?

    April 8, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. mike electrician

    A conventional war would not be quick, otherwise we would have ended these shenanigans a long time ago. There is no incentive to give up his nukes. Quadaffi did, and look what happened to him. Saddam, if he had them would be in power still. China doesn't want a unified Korea. The US doesn't want a unified Korea, since they are our 2nd largest buyer of military hardware, just after Israel. So why would be get rid out our customers? The only winner is the military industrial complex.

    April 8, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. daniel

    Stop trying to scare people by reporting fear based news and people won't be afraid. This crap has been going on forever find some real news and report on that.

    April 8, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Gurgyl

    This kid is funny–he knows saddam Hussain fait...

    April 8, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. CM

    Take them out.

    April 8, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Harry

    We're waiting to see if North Korea is going to do something. We're not really worried about our security... what would more than likely happen is we steam roll North Korea and turn it over to China as a territory for them to manage so they don't get jumpy.

    April 8, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Truth

    We're only worried because we have a COWARD running the country...

    April 8, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. rob

    He has my attention the same way a rabid dog would have my attention.

    April 8, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Joe

    We shoukd make sure that Dennis Rodman needs dental work and while he is under put nerve gas or explosives in his teeth. When he visiits his friend in August we could remotely detonate his tooth solving two problems at once.

    April 8, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. hypatia

    Listening, laughing, aiming...

    April 8, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Mel

    North Korean media reports verbatim and without question everything Kim Jong Un says.
    Just like the U.S.mainstream media and Obama.

    April 8, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Larry in Houston

    If I had anything to do with it – I wouldn't pay much attention to kim un – I mean if I was over the military – If that young leader wants to do a "test" and it accidentally hits anywhere near the U.S. borders, or our allies, and "accidentally" kills anybody – I would point a nuke HIS WAY – and press the red button – right in the middle of his country, maybe if he loses several million people at once, he may change his mind, on being a bully & a troublemaker. Sometimes that's what you have to do, when a bully acts first. You have to do something to "nip him in the bud" so to speak.

    April 8, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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