A new Gallup poll shows that North Korea has surged to the top of America’s enemy list. Fifty-one percent of respondents say the communist regime is the greatest threat to the United States.
Gallup reported the percentage of people naming North Korea as the top enemy has tripled in just two years.
North Korea dwarfs all other countries when Gallup asks Americans whom they consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy. Fifty-one percent now name the East Asian nation, more than tripling the 16% who cited it in 2016, with Russia, China and Iran distantly following.
These results are based on Gallup’s annual World Affairs poll, conducted Feb. 1-10, 2018 — the eleventh time Gallup has asked the “greatest enemy” question over the past 18 years.
And although it seems remarkable, 2 percent of those polled said the United States is the greatest threat to itself — the same percentage garnered by Iraq.
“This open-ended question relies on respondents to volunteer their own answers, and historically has produced a diverse list of countries,” Gallup reported. “Yet this year marks a departure from the past, with one country dominating Americans’ opinions and only four garnering considerable mentions.”
Gallup speculates that the reason for North Korea coming out on top is because of the “escalation of tensions” since 2016 and that President Donald Trump’s tough stance toward dictator Kim Jong-un has made those tensions reach “a boiling point.”
The aggressive testing of ballistic missiles by the Communist regime may also be a factor in the poll findings.
According to a Fox News 2017 timeline, North Korea launched a missile in February, two in March, three in May, two in June, two in July, two in August, two in September, and one in November — a total of 15 missiles in one year.
Gallup reported that Iraq was first or second on the enemies list from 2001 through 2008. In 2001, 39 percent said Iraq was the greatest threat — the highest percentage garnered for a country until North Korea’s surge to the top this year.
“Notably, the question was not asked from 2002 through 2004 while the U.S. was preparing for a conflict with, and then went to war with, Iraq,” Gallup reported.
North Korea had topped the list one other time: in 2005 when it was tied with Iraq.
Russia has also risen in the rankings in the past few years, Gallup reported, citing the Obama administration’s tense relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The 19 percent of Americans seeing Russia as the greatest enemy is the “largest percentage for Russia in Gallup’s trend.”
And, of course, there are differences based on political ideology.
Gallup reported that Democrats are about three times as likely as Republicans to see Russia as the greatest threat, and independents are about twice as likely.
More Republicans than Democrats named North Korea as the greatest enemy — 58 percent vs. 45 percent, respectively.
Republicans also are slightly more likely than Democrats to cite China or Iran as a threat to the United States.
Results for the poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 1-10, 2018, with a random sample of 1,044 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.