CNN Poll: Iran a bigger threat to U.S. than North Korea
April 18th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

CNN Poll: Iran a bigger threat to U.S. than North Korea

By CNN's Political Unit

Americans see Iran as a bigger threat to the United States than North Korea, according to a new poll.

The CNN/ORC International Poll released Wednesday showed 81% view Iran as a very serious or moderate threat to the U.S. Three quarters of Americans said North Korea represents a similar threat.

The secretary of defense has said that Iran is viewed as a more significant threat because if it obtained nuclear weapons the country would destabilize the entire region.

“Iran is a country that is – does not behave according to international rules, is engaged in spreading terrorism, in destabilizing countries in that part of the world, and a country that operates on that basis becomes extremely dangerous if it obtains a nuclear weapon,” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said last March at a press conference.

The new poll found a small majority were hopeful the situation with the Asian country could be resolved with economic and diplomatic efforts.  However, if those efforts fail, nearly six in ten would oppose U.S. military action against North Korea.

The isolationist North Korea attempted to launch a long-range rocket on Friday, but it broke apart before escaping the earth's atmosphere and fell into the sea.

Just over half of respondents thought Syria was a serious or moderate threat to this country. But most Americans did not view Russia the same way, with a majority saying the country is just a slight threat to the U.S. or no threat at all.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International between April 13 and April 15, with 1,015 adult Americans questioned by telephone.  The survey's overall sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: Iran • North Korea • Panetta • Politics
soundoff (277 Responses)
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  11. anees

    america is the biggest threat to the world peace,they just cant keep their nose off other country.
    no america no war no terrorist
    they kill people innocent people in iraq afganistan and pakistan[drone attack],in revange they join taliban.
    i hate amerian policies..............!!!!!!

    November 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  12. John

    Well... If one should make a critical analysis about who has the potential to threat the U.S, one must consider a country that has a military capability of doing such a thing.
    Not only that, but with the economy to sustain a war, who would have an airforce, a navy, an army, and rockets capable of reaching the U.S... now who would that be?
    The only nations that would have such capability right now is Russia and China.. no other nation would have that capability.
    So don't come and say that Iran is a threat.. look at the map! Look at how many U.S military bases are surrounding Iran borders.
    Iran is so much a threat as Australia would be.. close to ZERO.
    This all war propaganda.. it's Iraq 2.0.. I mean.. Iran...

    June 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
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    April 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  14. rkm

    Our media is the threat, not Iran or NK. It is all a lie and we are being pushed into it by Big Money...

    April 23, 2012 at 6:34 am | Reply
  15. Easy Rhino

    Was this poll confined to members of AIPAC?

    April 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  16. kafantaris2

    We've lost our nerve in dealing with Assad. What are we afraid of? We're on the side of the angels. Neither Russia nor China has any moral grounds to support this monster.
    If they choose to support him anyway in a military conflict, that's their business. We will have the rest of the world on our side. And if Iran wants to get involved, let it. Before doing so, it should note that the easiest way to Iran is through Syria. And we will take that path and take them both out, if that’s what it takes.
    Yes, there would be loss of life. Yes, it would be costly. And yes, it would disrupt the world economies. The ugliness of war has not changed throughout the centuries.
    Nonetheless, there is no other way to get rid of these entrenched monsters. When the job is done, we will rebuild - as we had done after WWII.
    But we'd better act quickly while the iron is still hot.

    April 19, 2012 at 9:39 am | Reply
    • Arcadon

      Typical American sheep believing whatever media sources like FOX and CNN tell them. Iran has NO nuclear capablities, and even if they did it would be STRICTLY for defense. That quote going around of the Iranian leader saying he wants to `wipe Israel off the face of the map" is a blatant lie. Search things online for yourself and stop watching this crap.

      April 23, 2012 at 6:28 am | Reply
    • Dave Schrom

      Oh give it a rest! What a bunch of silly rhetoric.. The absolute LAST thing the United States needs is another invasion into the Middle East. Iran poses absolutely NO threat to the United States or Israel... Perhaps you've been watching too much FOX News??

      April 24, 2012 at 12:12 am | Reply
  17. flatulentz

    My cut on this story is that Iran will attack Israel prior to the US election in the fall if Israel does not do them first. This will stop Oboma's getting re-elected, due to his neglect of the whole matter!

    April 19, 2012 at 8:02 am | Reply
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      So when did Israel become our 51st state?

      April 19, 2012 at 8:07 am | Reply
      • Frank Romano

        Israel is one of greatest allies we as a good nation help our allies in need not let them be threatened by utter destruction.

        April 21, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    let me see if I get this right! NK launches a ballistic missile they say to orbit a satellite and the west sternly and vigorously condemns NK's actions and warns that such a launching is a serious violation of international law and then responds by anouncing that it is going to end all diplomatic relations with NK! Then Iran attempts to enrich uranium for medical and energy purposes, and the west imposes the most severe sanctions on Iran, that is more stringent sanctions than that to ever be imposed on any country in history and then threatens war with Iran! But today India launches a long range nuclear ballistic missile and the west applauded India's actions and congratulated it and even announced proudly and publicly that such missile could reach as far as distant parts of China and Russia and that is OK? America, its no wonder the world hates you!

    April 19, 2012 at 7:57 am | Reply
  19. michaelfury

    "a country that is – does not behave according to international rules, is engaged in spreading terrorism, in destabilizing countries in that part of the world, and a country that operates on that basis becomes extremely dangerous if it obtains a nuclear weapon"

    April 19, 2012 at 7:51 am | Reply
    • tom

      how does the country become "extremely dangerous"? Write your scenario.

      April 19, 2012 at 7:53 am | Reply
  20. TheLord

    Who are you polling? Mericans will believe anything they are told.

    April 19, 2012 at 7:49 am | Reply
  21. Army4Ever

    Iran has invaded how many countries? Oh yea that's right. Zero. North Korea? One and they do have nukes and not too long ago were found building an (new) invasion tunnel under their DMZ mountains. The only reason fake polls and propaganda lies like this story are out is to convince you Iran is your enemy so the globalists are can take what they want with the help of US soldier blood. Who is the real threat to the world? I'll give you a hint. It's NOT Iran, or Libya, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Syria, or Pakistan. It's the private central banks that have been involved in EVERY conflict because it's profitable and they want world banking and governance. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    April 19, 2012 at 7:38 am | Reply
    • tom

      North Korea invaded South Korea. For Iran you are correct.

      Having said that, I don't feel either country is a threat to the U.S.A. EVEN IF THEY HAD NUCLEAR WEAPONS. They are not going to launch an unprovoked attack – that would be instant suicide and they know it. If the Soviets never did it, and they would have wiped us out (along with them when we replied), then why does anyone think Iran or N. Korea will do it.

      Let's get real. The only concerns would be 1. If one of these countries attack an "ally" of ours (we should stop making alliances where we protect a country like Israel with no benefit to us) 2. If Iran or N. Korea gives a bomb to a terrorist group (separate issue that needs to be dealt with in a different way)

      April 19, 2012 at 7:52 am | Reply
    • Dave Schrom

      Well said....

      April 24, 2012 at 12:16 am | Reply
  22. frank

    muslim apologists don' like the results of a poll so they take the usual low road: blame everyone but themselves for their image so "the poll is no good". "CNN is no good". the poll is sponsored by israel, aipac or a coalition of danish cartoonists. They ignore the essential message : living in a false world where everybody is to blame for your image but yourself will get you nowhere.

    April 19, 2012 at 7:36 am | Reply
    • tom

      what is a "muslim apologist"? Nice made up term troll.

      Neither Iran nor N. Korea is a threat to the U.S.A. Those of you worried about protecting "allies" should think more about your fellow Americans.

      April 19, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply
  23. Siggy

    "The medium is the message."

    ~Marshall McLuhan

    April 19, 2012 at 7:30 am | Reply
  24. Jm

    More fake poll numbers from propaganda CNN. What really is Iran going to do to the US except give our government a country to attack and go to war with for whatever reason propaganda lame stream media can make up for the war profiteers who rob us tax payers and bribe our "representatives".

    April 19, 2012 at 7:26 am | Reply
    • Frank Romano

      Bro trust this is a plan it is an obvious one that started after WWII, we as a nation have the best imperialistic ability. We simply are destroying old Russian territory and changing the morals of the world to fit our own therefore to have complete control under one unified system not unified countries but if we all have similar systems we will work better as a world i do not see a problem with moral imperialism. Even china a so called threat is starting to follow our views and Russia is too along with most of the world there are twelve rogue countries and two on the border of complete change. Iraq was a communist type, now they are a democracy, Afghanistan is hard but there people have been influenced to change. By the U.S. going into the region we showed them they are not nearly strong enough to even think about defending themselves so the big bad Americans come in and kill the people killing the people yes some people die in the way, but the overall status is smart people endorse this idea of moral imperialism because we are not stealing we are simply creating peace through bullying no one would do it the way we wanted to originally. The original way was through showing the world how to achieve greatness, so half the world listened; the other half thought they could do it better, i.e. communism, the cold war proved their stubborn asses wrong now the countries they affected need to be redone the right way. Even though it may seem wrong blowing up people in fucked up ways is how these idiots learn.

      April 21, 2012 at 8:41 am | Reply
  25. Danny Sausagee

    No surprise since the American public has had their brains washed by the media and lying administration. Independent thinking is a rarity in this country.

    April 19, 2012 at 7:06 am | Reply
  26. bill

    iran is no North Korea. North Korea is a locked up state desparate to catch up with democratic advanced South, so far their only achievement is building a bomb to use as a blackmail tool. Iran purpose of the bomb is for the Arab world to recognize her as a champion of equality with the West and Israel. Iran will play ball sooner or later but not Noth Korea.

    April 19, 2012 at 7:01 am | Reply
  27. Richard

    Who sponsored the poll, AIPAC?

    April 19, 2012 at 6:49 am | Reply
  28. chuck


    April 19, 2012 at 6:46 am | Reply
    • Ned

      who is to decide who should and who shouldn't have nukes? I believe Israel and Pakistan a bigger threats to world peace than Iran and N Korea

      April 19, 2012 at 7:06 am | Reply
      • frank

        we are all duly unimpressed with what you think.

        April 19, 2012 at 7:37 am |
      • Tom

        Why do you hate Jews, Ned?

        April 19, 2012 at 7:50 am |
      • Frank Romano

        your dumb learn physics and go read history books you need to learn history asap

        April 21, 2012 at 8:42 am |
      • Domenico

        Odd, that you should say they are the biggest threats to world peace. I thought it was the US that was the only country to EVER launch a nuke at another? I thought it was the US that has recently been invading other countries? This screams hypocrisy. America is like the schoolyard bully that likes to pick on other kids, then as soon as someone stands up to them they go crying to teacher.

        June 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
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