North Korea and the Threat of Nuclear Weapons

The September 2017 AP-NORC Poll of 1,150 adults investigates how Americans feel about the threat that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses to the country and the world.

A majority of Americans are concerned about the threat North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses to the United States and the world, and most disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the situation, according to a new survey by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans are very concerned about the potential danger North Korea’s nuclear arsenal poses to the United States in general, to Guam and U.S. territories overseas, and to U.S. allies like Japan and South Korea. Four in 10 are concerned about the safety of where they live specifically.

Few Americans think President Trump is handling the situation well. Thirty-six percent approve of President Trump’s handling of the North Korea situation compared to 63 percent who disapprove. Just 8 percent say his comments about North Korea have made the situation better, while 65 percent say they have made it worse. Even more Americans, 75 percent, say that comments from North Korea’s leaders have been detrimental to the situation.  

President Trump receives low marks for his handling of foreign policy overall, with 34 percent approving of his performance on the issue while 65 percent disapprove. This represents a slight decline from 40 percent who approved in March of this year.

The nationwide poll was conducted September 28-October 2, 2017 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,150 adults, including an oversample of African Americans. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.