With the White House and North Korea's tentative agreement for President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to meet, Americans' concerns about the threat from North Korea have abated and Trump's approval ratings for handling the situation there have risen, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans approve of Trump's decision to meet with Kim (62% approve, 31% disapprove) and the President's overall approval for handling the situation with North Korea has climbed from a November low of 35% to 43% now. That's a new high for the President.
The shift in tone between the White House and the North Korean regime seems to have eased Americans' fears about the threat North Korea poses to the US. Overall, just 39% say the country is an immediate threat to the United States, down from 50% who said so in September, and 63% now believe the situation can be successfully resolved using only economic and diplomatic efforts, a 20-point increase since September. There is also less support now among the public for taking military action against North Korea should diplomatic and economic efforts fail to accomplish US goals. While 58% favored military action in that instance in a September poll, just 45% say the same now.
The decreased concern about the threat posed by North Korea comes largely from Republicans and independents -- among Democrats, the share calling North Korea an immediate threat is about the same as it was in September -- but the shifts on the potential for diplomatic success and the need for military intervention have come across party lines.
Democrats and independents are far more apt to approve of Trump's decision to meet with Kim (38% and 67%, respectively) than they are to approve of his overall handling of North Korea (6% among Democrats, 45% among independents). Among Republicans, 82% approve of Trump in both instances.