WASHINGTON, D.C. — As North Korea continues to launch test missiles and issue provocative threats against the U.S. and its allies in the region, a majority of Americans appear ready to support military action against that country, at least as a last resort. More specifically, 58% say they would favor taking military action against North Korea if economic and diplomatic efforts fail to achieve the United States’ goals. This is significantly higher than the 47% in favor the last time Gallup asked this, in 2003.
U.S. attitudes about striking North Korea are partisan, as they were in 2003. Eighty-two percent of Republicans in the Sept. 6-10 Gallup poll say they would favor military action if peaceful means fail, compared with 37% of Democrats.
The percentage of Democrats who favor military action has hardly changed since 2003: 37% now vs. 41% then. The major shift has been among Republicans, whose support for military action is up 23 percentage points, while independents’ support is up 15 points.
Longstanding tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program came to the surface in 2002, when George W. Bush described North Korea as “a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.” He also grouped it with Iran and Iraq as part of an “axis of evil” that was “arming to threaten the peace of the world.”
Read more at Gallup.