61% say it's unlikely that North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons
President Trump’s praise for North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un, which he expressed in a Tuesday speech at the United Nations, didn’t win him much applause from the other leaders present. What the President said is not necessarily what the American people think either, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll.
In the poll, conducted before the President’s address to the UN, Americans continue to view the Hermit Kingdom as an enemy. Fewer than one in ten think of it even as “friendly.” Many don’t believe the President has the same view: although half agree he thinks of North Korea as at least “unfriendly,” a significant minority believes he sees North Korea as a friend.
Republicans are a little more positive about North Korea’s intentions, although they also describe the country as an enemy of the United States. They believe the President sees it their way, as well.
However, the public is, at best, skeptical about North Korea’s intentions. Although the President said he believes North Korea is heading towards nuclear disarmament, Americans disagree. Only one in five think it’s likely that North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons, and while Republicans are more hopeful (40% say nuclear disarmament by North Korea is at least “somewhat likely”), a majority of Republicans continue to believe disarmament is “not very likely” or not likely at all.
For two in three Americans, North Korea remains a threat, though only 23% describe the threat as immediate and serious. Republicans and Democrats differ little on this question.
So President Trump gets mixed reviews for his overtures towards North Korea. Republicans describe his summit meeting with Kim Jong-un as a success and an “important step” towards real peace between the US and North Korea, but that is not the view overall. As is the case for many questions about foreign policy, a lot of Americans are unsure. But overall those with an opinion say the summit was not a success (35% to 29%), and that it was mostly for show (45% to 36%).
Americans are closely divided on the President’s handling of North Korea – marginally more disapprove than approve. His overall approval rating remains at 40%. Half the public disapproves.