Public supports North Korea summit, but isn’t hoping for results

April 19, 2018

As unconfirmed Secretary of State candidate (and former CIA chief) Mike Pompeo returns from a secret visit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, most Americans are torn between not wanting to confer legitimacy on the Hermit State and wanting President Donald Trump to follow up with an upcoming summit, based on findings of a Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,002 U.S. adults released on April 17.

Over half (56%) say Trump should hold a summit meeting with Kim to try to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. A smaller number (36%) say the meeting should not be held because it would give Kim validity while his government allegedly violates international law.

Three in 10 Americans think it is likely the meeting will lead to an agreement for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, but two-thirds of the public say that is unlikely—including 42% who say it is “very unlikely”—the Post-ABC poll finds.

Trump and Kim have traded vague threats of using a “nuclear button,” but, by a margin of nearly two to one, Americans say Trump should not threaten U.S. military action against North Korea if it doesn’t give up its nuclear weapons.

There are modest partisan differences on support for holding a summit, with 70% of Republicans expressing support for the meeting while 46% percent of Democrats and 56% of Independents saying the same. But majorities across partisan lines find it unlikely the meeting will lead to an agreement for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, including 77% of Democrats, 67% of Independents and 58% of Republicans.

Research contact: emily.guskin@washpost.com

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