NK: 58% of Americans back military action if all else fails


A new Gallup poll conducted between September 6 and September 10 found that around six out of 10 American adults would support military action against North Korea if economic and diplomatic means do not convince Kim Jong-un to back off his nuclear program. The telephone interviews were conducted before Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido on Friday.

When asked whether they would favor or oppose military action against the rogue regime if Washington was unable to achieve its goals, 58 percent of those questioned said that they would back a military intervention while 39 percent said they would oppose such a move. Back in 2003, only 47 percent of the respondents backed the military option.

When analyzing the results along party lines, Gallup found that 82 percent of Republican voters, 56 percent of Independents and 37 percent of Democrats were comfortable with a military intervention. In 2003, 59 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of Independents and the same percentage of Democrats backed the use of force.

Compared with 2003, support for military action among Republicans is up 23 percentage points while among Independents it is up a more modest 15 points. Fewer Democrats now back a military solution to the North Korea crisis than 14 years ago (37 percent now vs. 41 then).

“A sharp increase in support among Republicans – possibly mirroring President Donald Trump’s promise to respond with ‘fire and fury’ to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s threats – explains much of this,” according to Gallup.

Although half (50 percent) of Americans nowadays believe that a combination of diplomatic and economic interventions could achieve a satisfactory outcome, U.S. citizens are much less optimistic than in 2003. At the time, 72 percent believed that a conflict with the Land of the Morning Calm could be avoided despite Kim Jong-il admitting at the time that he had pursued his nuclear program in contravention to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

As expected, those who do not think that diplomacy alone will curb Kim Jong-un’s ambitions are more likely to back military action than those who still believe that a soft approach could be successful (75 percent vs. 43).

With regard to Pyongyang’s threats against America, 38 percent of those questioned said they believed that the regime was likely to attack the U.S. in the next six months. The last time Gallup asked this question in 2013, only 28 percent of the respondents said they thought that the rogue regime would target the country.

As North Korea continues to defy the international community at a time when more and more Americans are fearful of a missile strike, the proportion of those who back military action against the North Korean dictator is likely to keep increasing.

The full poll is available on the Gallup website.