N. Korea nuke ad­vances spook most Amer­i­cans

Some 75 per­cent of Amer­i­cans also think com­ments made by North Korean lead­ers have made the sit­u­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries worse.

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Matthew Pen­ning­ton and Emily Swan­son

North Korea’s nu­clear weapons devel­op­ment is spook­ing most Amer­i­cans, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent poll.

WASHINGTON » North Korea’s nu­clear weapons devel­op­ment is spook­ing most Amer­i­cans, and twothirds of them say Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s war of words with the iso­lated na­tion’s leader is mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion worse. Less than 1 in 10 thinks Trump’s com­ments are mak­ing it bet­ter.

Those are the find­ings of a poll by the As­so­ci­ated Press-NORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search, as ten­sions be­tween the ad­ver­saries es­ca­late and North Korea comes closer to its goal of hav­ing a nu­clear-tipped mis­sile that could strike the con­ti­nen­tal U.S.

The poll was con­ducted about a week after Trump in­ten­si­fied rhetor­i­cal ex­changes with his coun­ter­part Kim Jong Un, dub­bing him “Rocket Man” and threat­en­ing in a Sept. 19 speech at the U.N. to “to­tally de­stroy” North Korea if the U.S. is forced to de­fend it­self and its al­lies. Kim re­sponded with dire threats and in­sults of his own, call­ing Trump “de­ranged” and a “dotard.”

“The in­sta­bil­ity of it all makes me very ner­vous,” said Diana Egan, 34, of Los Angeles. She de­scribed her­self as a mod­er­ate Repub­li­can but voiced anx­i­ety about how North Korea might re­spond to Trump’s tough talk and tweets. “You don’t know where the line is for them, and where they say, ‘I’m going to push this but­ton.’”

The poll found that 65 per­cent of Amer­i­cans think Trump’s com­ments have made the sit­u­a­tion be­tween the U.S. and North Korea worse, in­clud­ing 45 per­cent who think he’s made the sit­u­a­tion much worse. Only 8 per­cent think he’s mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion bet­ter.

Eighty-nine per­cent of Democrats, 59 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 38 per­cent of Repub­li­cans think Trump’s com­ments have made things worse.

Trump de­fended his tough ap­proach on Wednesday as he con­ceded dif­fer­ences on North Korea with his own top diplo­mat, Rex Tiller­son, who ad­vo­cates keep­ing open the pos­si­bil­ity of ne­go­ti­a­tions with Kim’s au­thor­i­tar­ian gov­ern­ment.

“I think per­haps I feel stronger and tougher on that sub­ject than other peo­ple,” Trump said in the Oval Of­fice. “But I lis­ten to ev­ery­body and ul­ti­mately I will do what’s right for the United States and re­ally what’s right for the world,” he said, adding, “it’s a prob­lem that has to be solved.”

Al­though North Korea’s abil­ity to wed a nu­clear war­head with a lon­grange mis­sile and strike a tar­get in the U.S. re­mains un­cer­tain, most of the poll re­spon­dents are wor­ried about Kim at­tack­ing Amer­ica. In July, North Korea tested for the first time a mis­sile that could po­ten­tially strike most of the con­ti­nen­tal U.S.

Some 67 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are very or ex­tremely con­cerned about the threat North Korea’s nu­clear weapons pro­gram poses to the United States. Four in 10 are con­cerned about the threat posed to where they live specif­i­cally, more so if they live in ur­ban ar­eas.

“He (Trump) will be some­where safe. We got nowhere to go,” said An­thony Leroy Wa­ters, 61, of Wilm­ing­ton, North Carolina. He said he lives 30 miles from a nu­clear power plant and fears the im­pact an at­tack could have on his lo­cal­ity. “It’s scary,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the poll, Democrats are more likely than Repub­li­cans to be con­cerned about where they live, 50 per­cent to 32 per­cent.

Over­all, 68 per­cent of re­spon­dents say they are con­cerned about the threat posed to U.S. ter­ri­to­ries like Guam, and 69 per­cent are con­cerned about the threat to U.S. al­lies, such as Ja­pan and South Korea — North Korea’s neigh­bors. That con­cern reg­is­tered higher among older Amer­i­cans than younger ones.

Some 75 per­cent of Amer­i­cans also think com­ments made by North Korean lead­ers have made the sit­u­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries worse. Eighty-three per­cent of Democrats and 70 per­cent of Repub­li­cans agree.

Mui Bal­tru­mas, 67, of Evanston, Illi­nois, dis­sented. He said the North Korean threat is be­ing blown out of pro­por­tion and Kim is more cal­cu­lat­ing and “not nearly as crazy as ev­ery­one thinks he is.” Bal­tru­mas, who leans Demo­cratic, said he was more con­cerned by the “John Wayne-style machismo com­ing out of the White House.”

“So long as we’re look­ing at North Korea, we’re not look­ing at prob­lems in our own back­yard. I think it’s a nice, cheap po­lit­i­cal diver­sion,” he said.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,150 adults was con­ducted Sept. 28-Oct. 2 us­ing a sam­ple drawn from NORC’s prob­a­bil­ity-based Amer­iS­peak panel, which is de­signed to be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion. The mar­gin of sam­pling er­ror for all re­spon­dents is plus or mi­nus 4.1 per­cent­age points.

Re­spon­dents were first se­lected ran­domly us­ing ad­dress-based sam­pling meth­ods, and later in­ter­viewed on­line or by phone. On­line: AP-NORC Cen­ter: http:// www.ap­norc.org/


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing a briefing at Trump National Golf Club in Bed­min­ster, N.J. A new As­so­ci­ated Press-NORC poll finds that North Korea’s nu­clear weapons devel­op­ment is spook­ing most Amer­i­cans.

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