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Republicans Hugely Confident in North Korea Deal; Democrats Hate It

Friday, June 15, 2018

Following President Trump’s summit with dictator Kim Jong Un, voters are only slightly more positive about the president’s dealings with North Korea but are cautiously optimistic about the denuclearization deal the two men signed. As is often the case, however, partisan affiliation makes a huge difference in perceptions.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters think it’s likely that Trump’s agreement with Kim will result in a slowing or stopping of North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons, with 22% who say it’s Very Likely. Forty-four percent (44%) say the agreement is unlikely to work, with 19% who say it’s Not At All Likely to do so. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

This is a bit more pessimistic than voters were in early May when Trump agreed to meet with Kim. At that time, 51% said the meeting was likely to result in a slowing or stopping of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, while 39% said that was an unlikely outcome.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters now rate Trump’s handling of the situation with North Korea as good or excellent. Thirty-one percent (31%) say he’s doing a poor job. This compares to 44% and 41% respectively in late February after the president announced extensive new economic sanctions on North Korea. Those sanctions are credited with helping to force Kim to the negotiating table.

While there is a seeming lessening of North Korean tensions with other nations, voters here don’t see much likelihood of change in the so-called Hermit Kingdom. Only 27% think it’s likely North Korea will become a free, democratic and peaceful nation over the next few years. Sixty-five percent (65%) consider that unlikely. This includes just five percent (5%) who say a free North Korea is Very Likely and 31% who feel it’s Not At All Likely.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 13-14, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Trump and Kim signed an historic agreement on Monday to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. But even before their summit meeting, fear of a North Korean nuclear attack among voters here was rapidly fading.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of Republicans think the agreement with Kim is likely to result in a slowing or stopping of North Korea’s nuclear program, with 38% who say it’s Very Likely. Among Democrats, 70% say the deal is unlikely to lead to a denuclearized North Korea, including 30% who say it’s Not At All Likely. Unaffiliated voters are almost evenly divided.

There’s a similar partisan gap when it comes to assessing Trump’s handling of the situation in North Korea. But most voters in all three groups see a free, democratic and peaceful North Korea as unlikely in the near future, although GOP voters are more optimistic than the others.

The older the voter, the more positive they are about Trump’s handling of the North Korean situation and the more confident they are that the agreement will work.  

Forty-three percent (43%) of Democrats - but only 29% of all voters - said last month that Trump has been too aggressive with the North Koreans.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Democrats said last September that Trump is a bigger danger to the United States than the North Korean dictator who has been threatening to attack us with nuclear weapons.

Seventy percent (70%) of all voters continue to regard North Korea as a vital national security interest for the United States.

But just 31% of Americans think most Americans can locate North Korea on a map.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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