But 69% of Republicans also favor military action
Despite their overwhelming belief that North Korea is an enemy of the United States, and their strongly unfavorable opinions about that country’s leader, Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, conducted after the Hermit Kingdom’s latest missile test, say they much prefer negotiations to military action.
There is overwhelming support for direct negotiations from Republicans, Democrats and independents. But that agreement disappears when respondents are asked about the United States taking military action against North Korea. Republicans are just about as heavily in favor of military action as they are of direct negotiations. A majority of Republicans would even support military action if it led to war with China.
Just over two months ago, the President Trump and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, engaged in a war of words, which each man lobbing insults at each other. In the Economist/YouGov Poll conducted after that exchange, which included insults like “dotard” and “little rocket man,” the public was extremely worried about the possibility of war. And opinion was more bellicose too. At that time, about half the country favored military action to end that country’s nuclear program.
Support for military action has dropped 12 points among Democrats and 17 points among independents, but has changed hardly at all among Republicans.
In the latest poll, 71% describe North Korea as an enemy of the United States, and just about as many believe that President Donald Trump agrees with that assessment. Hardly any (4%) call that country a friend or ally. When it comes to Kim, only 5% of Americans have a favorable view. 78% are unfavorable.
By two to one, Americans still expect some kind of military action against North Korea. Even more believe that the President is likely to lead the country into a war somewhere in the world.
Similar numbers of Democrats, independents and Republicans agree that some military action against North Korea is likely, even though they many don’t favor that option. But 85% of Democrats and a majority of independents believe the President will get the U.S. involved in a war, while only 35% of Republicans agree. More Republicans (45%) say that, in general, President Trump is unlikely to get the country into a war.
Americans criticize the President’s handling of North Korea: 48% disapprove, and 37% approve (by 75% to 17%, Republicans approve). That’s not much different from the President’s overall approval rating, which has been stuck in a narrow range at 40% or below for several months.
At the start of his Administration, 59% viewed the President as a strong leader. That percentage is now 43%, matching the lowest percentage ever for this President.