Overall, 53% approve of Trump’s handling of North Korea, and 35% disapprove. That represents the first time a majority has approved of his handling of the issue and is a near reversal from his low point on the topic in November, when just 35% approved not long after Kim accused Trump of “mentally deranged behavior” and Trump responded by tweeting that Kim was “obviously a madman.”
Approval of Trump’s decision to meet with Kim has climbed 15 points since a late March poll, not long after the decision for the two leaders to meet was announced. That number is bolstered by increases across party lines, including a 24-point rise in approval of that decision among Democrats (from 38% in March to 62% now), a 12-point rise from independents (from 67% to 79%) and a 10-point increase among the President’s partisans (from 82% to 92%).
Americans are deeply unfavorable toward the North Korean leader himself. Kim receives an 8% favorable rating and 82% view him unfavorably. Bad as they are, these numbers reflect an improvement for Kim. In December 2014, only 1% had favorable opinions of him, with 84% unfavorable. The number of people who have “never heard of him” has decreased.
The findings come as CNN reports that Trump administration officials have been instructed to move forward with plans for the summit to convene in Singapore.
Nearly half of those polled consider North Korea a very serious threat to the United States (47% say so), down from 62% who thought that in October. Despite the decrease, Americans are more apt to consider North Korea a deeply serious threat than they are to say the same about Iran (40%), Russia (38%) or China (25%).
Those declines in the perceived threat from North Korea come across party lines, with Democrats and Republicans each down 17 points and independents 13 points less apt to consider the country a very serious threat.
The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS May 2-5 among a random national sample of 1,015 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.