- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The American attitude toward North Korea appears to be evolving ­— and not necessarily in a docile direction. The number of Americans who would support a U.S. military response to the rogue nation’s aggression is “significantly higher” these days, according to a new Gallup poll.

“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 percent 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 percent in favor the last time Gallup asked this, in 2003,” reports Lydia Saad, a Gallup analyst.

“U.S. attitudes about striking North Korea are partisan, as they were in 2003,” she said, noting that the new poll conducted found that 82 percent of Republicans would favor military action if peaceful means fail, compared with 37 percent of Democrats.

“The percentage of Democrats who favor military action has hardly changed since 2003: 37 percent now vs. 41 percent then. The major shift has been among Republicans, whose support for military action is up 23 percentage points,” Ms. Saad said.

Among independents, 41 percent supported military pushback against North Korea in the 2003 poll. The number has since risen to 56 percent.

Optimism about a peaceful resolution of the situation through diplomatic or economic means is also flagging. Three-fourths of Americans felt confident that the matter could be settled peacefully in the 2003 poll. That number is now down to 50 percent.

Many Americans, however, still think North Korea is “bluffing,” however.

“Despite North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s fiery rhetoric in recent months about destroying the U.S. mainland, far less than half of Americans, 38 percent, consider it likely that North Korea will take military action against the U.S. in the next six months. This is up from 28 percent in the prior measure but is still the distinct minority view,” the poll analysis said.

The survey of 1,022 U.S. adults was conducted Sept. 6-10.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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