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Many Voters Want To Help South Korea Militarily But Not With More Troops

Voters expect tensions between the two Koreas to escalate, and a plurality is supportive of U.S. military assistance to South Korea if it’s attacked. At the same time, a plurality opposes sending more U.S. troops there.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 68% of Likely U.S. Voters think a war between North and South Korea in the near future is at least somewhat likely, with 25% who say it is Very Likely. That’s an 11-point jump in the overall finding from May of last year. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Only 21% now think war between the two is not very or not at all likely in the near future, following North Korea’s artillery barrage on a South Korean island yesterday that left at least four dead. The Los Angeles Times quoted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as saying it was one of the "gravest incidents" since the end of the Korean War nearly 50 years ago.

Forty-six percent (46%) of voters believe the United States should provide military assistance to South Korea if it is attacked by North Korea. Twenty-nine percent (29%) disagree and say military assistance should not be provided, while another 25% are not sure.

This level of support for military assistance to South Korea is consistent with earlier polls, the latest in May. The majority of Americans are willing to militarily defend only five countries around the globe – Great Britain, Israel, Germany, Canada and Mexico.

The United States still has roughly 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea, but just 33% of voters think additional troops should be deployed there if South Korea is attacked by its neighbor to the north. Thirty-nine percent (39%) oppose the deployment of additional American soldiers to assist South Korea if it is attacked. Twenty-eight percent (28%) are undecided.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 23, 2010 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.

How concerned are voters about violence in Korea escalating to a global conflict? What’s the partisan divide on aid to South Korea, including more troops? Become a Platinum member and find out.

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