HPU/News and Record Poll: NC Residents See North Korea as Top Threat in Increasingly Dangerous World

HIGH POINT, N.C., March 29, 2018 – A High Point University Poll finds that North Carolinians see North Korea as the most dangerous threat to U.S. national security, and a majority expect other countries may play a role in the outcomes of upcoming U.S. elections. A large majority says the world is increasingly dangerous, and about half think President Donald Trump’s administration has not effectively addressed Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Among four countries that might pose threats to U.S. national security, two out of five (41 percent) of North Carolinians say North Korea is the single biggest threat to national security followed by Russia (29 percent), China (12 percent), and Iran (9 percent). When asked to rate the countries on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 means not a threat at all and 10 means an extremely dangerous threat, these North Carolinians give North Korea an average (mean) score of 7.8, while Russia is a 7.1, Iran is a 6.6 and China is a 6.1.  

Majorities of North Carolina residents see an active role for the U.S. in this increasingly dangerous world. Almost three out of five North Carolinians (59 percent) say they think it is better for the future of the country if the U.S. takes an active part in world affairs. Almost three-quarters (74 percent) say the world is becoming more dangerous for the U.S. even though fewer than a half (47 percent) say they personally feel less safe than a year ago.  Twenty-two percent say they feel safer than a year ago, and 31 percent say they feel about the same.

North Carolina residents remain unconvinced overall that the Russian government played a significant role in the outcome of the 2016 elections in the U.S. Forty-seven percent say that Russia did not play a significant role in the outcome of the 2016 U.S. elections, while 40 percent say it did, and 13 percent did not offer a view either way. About half (52 percent), however, say that the Trump Administration has not effectively addressed Russian interference in those elections, and 60 percent say they expect other governments to try and play a role in the outcomes of upcoming U.S. elections.

Finally, not many North Carolinians say they have heard about or show much concern about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent announcement of a new, highly capable missile system. Of the people who responded to the HPU Poll, 53 percent say they had not heard much at all about it, and only 12 percent say they had heard a lot. Concern about the system does not appear to be very high with only 11 percent saying they are extremely concerned about the new missile system, 21 percent saying they are very concerned, and a total of 59 percent saying they are either somewhat or not very concerned at all.

“These results are consistent with what we have found previously,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “North Carolinians continue to see North Korea as the top threat. They are concerned that the world is becoming more dangerous and take seriously the prospect of future meddling in U.S. elections by foreign powers. Overall, people in this state prefer an active role for the U.S. in world affairs in the face of these perceived threats.”

 

All adults – Active part in world affairs (March 2018)

Now we would like to ask you some questions about foreign affairs issues. Do you think it will be best for the future of the country if we take an active part in world affairs, or if we stay out of world affairs?

Active part – 59 percent

Stay out – 26 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 15 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – World safer or more dangerous for U.S. (March 2018)

Thinking about current U.S. relations with the rest of the world, would you say that the world is becoming safer or more dangerous for the U.S. and the American people?

Safer – 15 percent

More dangerous – 74 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 11 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Personal safety (March 2018)

Do you feel safer or less safe than you did a year ago?

Safer – 22 percent

Less safe – 47 percent

About the same – 31 percent

Don’t know/refuse – Less than 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Relative threat of other countries (March 2018)

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means not a threat at all and 10 means an extremely dangerous threat, how much of a threat is each of these countries to U.S. national security? [COUNTRY ORDER RANDOMIZED]

North Korea = 7.8 (n= 383)

Russia = 7.1 (n = 370)

Iran = 6.6 (n = 367)

China= 6.1 (n = 372)

Averages (means) calculated with don’t know/refuse excluded (missing)

           

Threat 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (Don’t know/ Refuse) Mean

(x̅)

North Korea 2 1 1 3 4 7 5 9 17 12 35 5 7.79
Russia 3 * 2 4 4 12 9 11 16 8 24 8 7.13
China 4 1 5 5 6 18 9 14 11 5 14 8 6.13
Iran 3 1 2 3 9 9 12 18 15 5 16 9 6.63

 

* = less than 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Relative threats compared (March 2018)

Which of these countries do you perceive as the single biggest threat to U.S. national security? [COUNTRY ORDER RANDOMIZED]

North Korea – 41 percent

Russia – 29 percent

China – 12 percent

Iran – 9 percent

Other – 2 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 7 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Russia and 2016 Election Outcome (March 2018)

Do you think the Russian government played a significant role in the outcome of the 2016 elections here in the United States?

Yes – 40 percent

No – 47 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 13 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Foreign Governments and Future Election Outcomes (March 2018)

Do you expect other governments to try to play a role in the outcomes of upcoming U.S. elections?

Yes – 60 percent

No – 33 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 7 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Trump Administration and Russian Interference (March 2018)

Do you think the Trump Administration has addressed effectively Russian interference in the 2016 elections?

Yes – 34 percent

No – 52 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 14 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Heard about Russian missile system (March 2018)

How much would you say you have heard about Russia’s new missile system? A lot, some, or not much at all?

A lot – 12 percent

Some – 34 percent

Not much at all – 53 percent

Don’t know/Refuse –1 percent

 

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Concern about Russian missile system (March 2018)

How concerned are you about President Putin’s comments about his country’s new missile system, would you say extremely concerned, very concerned, only somewhat concerned or not very concerned at all?

Extremely concerned – 11 percent

Very concerned – 21 percent

Somewhat concerned – 38 percent

Not very concerned at all – 21 percent

Don’t know/Refuse – 9 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed March 19-26, 2018, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on March 19-26, 2018. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 402 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The registered voter subsample relied on responses from the participants about their own registration status and yielded a total of 336 respondents. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.9 percentage points for all adult respondents and an approximate margin of sampling error of 5.3 percent for the self-described registered voters. The data is weighted toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender, race, and education level based on U.S. Census and CDC numbers for North Carolina. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2018/03/58memoB.pdf.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see

http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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