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Americans say North Korea can be contained without military action - CBS News poll

By Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus, Kabir Khanna and Anthony Salvanto

Most uneasy about Trump’s approach

Most Americans think North Korea is a threat that can be contained without military action for now and a majority remains uneasy about President Donald Trump’s ability to handle the situation with their nuclear program.

Sixty-one percent, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents, say North Korea’s development of weapons is a threat that can be contained. Slightly over a quarter say it is a threat that does require military action now, and that rises to 37 percent among Republicans.  

Most continue to be uneasy about President Trump’s ability to handle the North Korea nuclear situation. Over nine in ten Democrats, as well as a majority of independents, are uneasy, while most Republicans are confident. There is greater unease with respect to North Korea now than two weeks ago, when 56 percent were uneasy, perhaps reflecting the recent escalation in tensions.


Opinions on the threat have not changed dramatically since November 2011, when 65 percent of the public favored containment.

This poll was conducted by telephone April 21-24, 2017 among a random sample of 1,214 adults nationwide.  Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, PA.  Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. 

The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone. 

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers. The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables. 

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly. 

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. 

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