Majority of Americans Don't Understand the Presidential ... - Ipsos

Sep 12, 2017 - chris.jackson@ipsos.com .... China is the United States' largest trading partner .... North Korea intends to attack the United States with nuclear ...
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Majority of Americans Don’t Understand the Presidential Procedure for a Nuclear Strike Ipsos Poll on Behalf of NPR Washington, DC, September 12, 2017 — The latest Ipsos/NPR poll explored American attitudes towards North Korea, focusing on how much Americans actually know about the nuclear conflict and the extent to which they care. To better gauge American understanding of North Korea and their nuclear capabilities, we explored American’s knowledge through fact based questions. Overall, only 18% were able to get an ‘A’ with nine or more correct, while a plurality (37%) got five or less correct, earning them an ‘F.’ Democrats struggled the most, with nearly two in five (41%) getting an ‘F.’ Republicans proved to be most knowledgeable, with 74% receiving a ‘C’ or higher. Notably, a majority of Americans (57%) were able to identify North Korea on a map of Asia. Outside of geography, Americans generally struggled on questions about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Many were divided on the distance North Korean ballistic missiles can travel, with only 41% correctly guessing they could hit the continental US. Similarly, only 26% knew North Korea is capable of killing roughly 300,000 in South Korea in the first 48 hours of a war using only conventional weapons. In addition to little understanding about North Korea, many Americans incorrectly guessed the presidential procedure for initiating a nuclear strike. Only a quarter of Americans (24%) understand the lack of checks and balances, allowing the president to order a nuclear strike without any coordination with the Secretary of Defense, confirmation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff or approval from Congress. Beyond the knowledge questions, Americans are more divided on their feelings about a potential North Korean conflict and nuclear strike. A majority of Americans (51%) do not trust President Trump to handle the conflict with North Korea, though this division falls along party lines. While a majority (54%) believe the US should never use nuclear weapons, over a third of Americans (37%) disagree. Americans were also divided when asked about their level of agreement with actions against North Korea that would have impacts on the US. Only 51% support sabotaging North Korea’s nuclear program through cyber-espionage, even if it opens the US to be attacked by the same. Even fewer (41%) support using targeted first strikes to destroy North Korea’s nuclear program, even if it potentially results in thousands of deaths. Despite a lack of consensus on next steps, Americans overwhelmingly agree that Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, is far more likely to start an armed conflict than Donald Trump (50%). Grades for Knowledge Questions Q2 through Q7

A – 9 or more correct out of 12 B – 8 correct out of 12 C – 6 or 7 correct out of 12 F – under 5 correct out of 12

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Total (N= 1005) 18% 15% 30% 37%

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Democrat (N= 322) 17% 12% 31% 41%

Republican (N= 357) 20% 19% 35% 26%

Independent (N= 219) 20% 13% 29% 38%

Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S., Ipsos Public Affairs [email protected] +1 202 420-2025

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Topline 1.

Which three of the following topics do you find the most worrying? (Select up to three)

Healthcare Terrorism Climate Change Crime Political extremism or polarization Nuclear conflict Immigration Taxes Education Unemployment Social inequality Government budget and debt Foreign conflicts Other specify None of these

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Total (N= 1005) 38% 37% 23% 23% 22% 21% 18% 17% 16% 16% 15% 14% 11% 4% 3%

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Democrat (N= 322) 43% 32% 35% 19% 26% 20% 13% 10% 20% 16% 22% 7% 9% 4% 2%

Republican (N= 357) 30% 51% 12% 28% 16% 24% 26% 21% 15% 13% 6% 19% 14% 4% 1%

Independent (N= 219) 39% 32% 18% 18% 29% 17% 19% 20% 13% 17% 18% 19% 11% 4% 4%

Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S., Ipsos Public Affairs [email protected] +1 202 420-2025

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2.

On the map of East Asia below, which country is North Korea?

1 – Mongolia 2 – China 3 – Myanmar 4 – Thailand 5 – Laos 6 – Cambodia 7 – Vietnam 8 – Malaysia 9 – Indonesia 10 –Papua New Guinea 11 – Philippines 12 – North Korea 13 – South Korea 14 – Japan Don’t know

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Total (N= 1005) 6% 3% 1% * 2% 1% 1% 1% * 2% 1% 57% 1% 1% 25%

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Democrat (N= 322) 7% 3% * 1% 1% 1% 2% 1% * 2% 2% 51% 1% 1% 28%

Republican (N= 357) 3% 5% 2% * 3% 1% * 1% 1% 1% 61% 1% * 21%

Independent (N= 219) 4% 1% 1% * 1% * * 2% * 1% * 68% 1% 1% 21%

Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S., Ipsos Public Affairs [email protected].com +1 202 420-2025

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3.

To the best of your knowledge, are the following statements TRUE or FALSE? * denotes correct answer China is the United States’ largest trading partner

*True False Don’t know

Total (N= 1005) 78% 9% 13%

Democrat (N= 322) 80% 8% 12%

Republican (N= 357) 78% 11% 11%

Independent (N= 219) 76% 8% 16%

Total (N= 1005) 11% 56% 33%

Democrat (N= 322) 15% 48% 37%

Republican (N= 357) 10% 62% 27%

Independent (N= 219) 5% 65% 30%

Total (N= 1005) 62% 16% 21%

Democrat (N= 322) 61% 20% 19%

Republican (N= 357) 67% 14% 18%

Independent (N= 219) 60% 18% 22%

Republican (N= 357) 31% 23% 46%

Independent (N= 219) 21% 26% 53%

South Korea is North Korea’s largest trading partner

True *False Don’t know Formally, North and South Korea remain at war

*True False Don’t know

The economy of North Korea is about the same size as Birmingham, Alabama’s

*True False Don’t know 4.

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Democrat (N= 322) 24% 24% 53%

To the best of your knowledge, are the following statements TRUE or FALSE? * denotes correct answer North Korea has nuclear weapons

*True False Don’t know

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Total (N= 1005) 25% 24% 52%

2020 K Street NW, Suite 410 Washington, DC 20006 +1 202 463-7300

Total (N= 1005) 87% 4% 9%

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Democrat (N= 322) 90% 4% 7%

Republican (N= 357) 88% 4% 8%

Independent (N= 219) 85% 5% 11%

Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S., Ipsos Public Affairs [email protected] +1 202 420-2025

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North Korea does not has ballistic missiles capable of hitting the continental U.S.

True *False Don’t know

Total (N= 1005) 20% 58% 22%

Democrat (N= 322) 20% 56% 24%

Republican (N= 357) 22% 61% 18%

Independent (N= 219) 18% 60% 22%

Total (N= 1005) 54% 9% 37%

Democrat (N= 322) 52% 9% 39%

Republican (N= 357) 60% 12% 28%

Independent (N= 219) 56% 4% 40%

Republican (N= 357) 61% 9% 29%

Independent (N= 219) 53% 9% 38%

Seoul, South Korea is 35 miles from North Korea

*True False Don’t know

The United States has about 30,000 troops currently stationed in South Korea

*True False Don’t know 5.

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Democrat (N= 322) 57% 7% 36%

To the best of your knowledge, what is the farthest North Korean ballistic missiles can travel: * denotes correct answer

Short distance, capable of hitting Japan Intermediate distance, capable of hitting Alaska or Hawaii *Long distance, capable of hitting the continental U.S. Don’t know

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Total (N= 1005) 56% 8% 35%

2020 K Street NW, Suite 410 Washington, DC 20006 +1 202 463-7300

Total (N= 1005) 13% 32%

Democrat (N= 322) 15% 33%

Republican (N= 357) 11% 34%

Independent (N= 219) 12% 35%

41%

38%

48%

35%

14%

13%

8%

18%

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Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S., Ipsos Public Affairs [email protected] +1 202 420-2025

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6.

If war broke out with North Korea, how many civilian fatalities do experts believe North Korea could cause in South Korea in the first 48 hours using conventional rather than nuclear weapons? * denotes correct answer

Three thousand Thirty thousand *Three hundred thousand One million Don’t know 7.

Democrat (N= 322) 7% 14% 26% 21% 31%

Republican (N= 357) 5% 13% 29% 26% 27%

Independent (N= 219) 3% 13% 25% 20% 39%

If the U.S. president wanted to order a nuclear strike, what procedure would he have to follow? * denotes correct answer

*He would just have to order it Get approval from Congress Coordinate with the Secretary of Defense Get confirmation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff 8.

Total (N= 1005) 5% 13% 26% 22% 33%

Total (N= 1005) 24% 44% 20% 12%

Democrat (N= 322) 26% 48% 17% 9%

Republican (N= 357) 24% 34% 23% 18%

Independent (N= 219) 22% 55% 14% 9%

Total (N= 1005) 22% 22% 11% 40% 6% 43% 51%

Democrat (N= 322) 7% 12% 10% 67% 5% 18% 77%

Republican (N= 357) 46% 35% 9% 7% 2% 81% 16%

Independent (N= 219) 17% 23% 12% 39% 8% 40% 51%

Total (N= 1005) 26% 29% 23% 14% 8% 54% 37%

Democrat (N= 322) 34% 30% 19% 8% 8% 65% 27%

Republican (N= 357) 12% 28% 33% 22% 4% 41% 55%

Independent (N= 219) 33% 27% 16% 14% 11% 59% 30%

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? You trust President Trump to handle the conflict with North Korea

Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Don’t know Agree (Net) Disagree (Net) The U.S. should never use nuclear weapons

Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Don’t know Agree (Net) Disagree (Net)

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Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S., Ipsos Public Affairs [email protected] +1 202 420-2025

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The U.S. should never be the first to use nuclear weapons

Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Don’t know Agree (Net) Disagree (Net) 9.

Total (N= 1005) 40% 28% 16% 7% 9% 68% 23%

Democrat (N= 322) 49% 26% 9% 6% 10% 75% 15%

Republican (N= 357) 32% 30% 23% 10% 5% 62% 33%

Independent (N= 219) 41% 28% 15% 5% 11% 69% 20%

Democrat (N= 322) 37% 38% 6% 1% 18% 75% 7%

Republican (N= 357) 35% 40% 8% 2% 15% 75% 10%

Independent (N= 219) 43% 36% 8% 1% 13% 78% 9%

Democrat (N= 322) 26% 47% 13% 3% 12% 73% 16%

Republican (N= 357) 40% 38% 12% 4% 6% 78% 16%

Independent (N= 219) 33% 43% 7% 3% 14% 76% 10%

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? China does not want conflict with North Korea

Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Don’t know Agree (Net) Disagree (Net)

Total (N= 1005) 37% 37% 7% 1% 18% 74% 8%

The U.S. has an obligation to protect allies in East Asia

Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Don’t know Agree (Net) Disagree (Net)

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Total (N= 1005) 31% 43% 10% 3% 12% 74% 14%

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Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S., Ipsos Public Affairs [email protected] +1 202 420-2025

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North Korea intends to attack the United States with nuclear weapons

Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Don’t know Agree (Net) Disagree (Net)

Total (N= 1005) 18% 37% 19% 5% 21% 55% 24%

Democrat (N= 322) 15% 41% 17% 5% 22% 56% 22%

Republican (N= 357) 22% 40% 20% 3% 14% 63% 23%

Independent (N= 219) 18% 27% 29% 7% 20% 45% 35%

10. Do you support or oppose the following actions to deal with North Korea? Putting sanctions on countries that trade with North Korea, even if it hurts the US economy

Strongly support Somewhat support Somewhat oppose Strongly oppose Don’t know Support (Net) Oppose (Net)

Total (N= 1005) 33% 35% 15% 5% 12% 68% 20%

Democrat (N= 322) 35% 32% 17% 5% 11% 68% 21%

Republican (N= 357) 38% 41% 9% 3% 8% 79% 12%

Independent (N= 219) 31% 37% 15% 8% 9% 68% 23%

Sabotaging North Korea’s nuclear program through cyber-espionage, even if it opens the US to be attacked by the same

Strongly support Somewhat support Somewhat oppose Strongly oppose Don’t know Support (Net) Oppose (Net)

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Total (N= 1005) 20% 31% 20% 11% 18% 51% 31%

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Democrat (N= 322) 15% 31% 23% 13% 18% 46% 36%

Republican (N= 357) 28% 36% 20% 4% 11% 64% 25%

Independent (N= 219) 21% 29% 18% 14% 18% 50% 33%

Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S., Ipsos Public Affairs [email protected] +1 202 420-2025

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Using targeted first strikes to destroy North Korea’s nuclear program, even if it potentially results in thousands of deaths

Strongly support Somewhat support Somewhat oppose Strongly oppose Don’t know Support (Net) Oppose (Net)

Total (N= 1005) 16% 25% 23% 17% 18% 41% 41%

Democrat (N= 322) 10% 20% 28% 22% 20% 30% 50%

Republican (N= 357) 26% 34% 23% 6% 11% 60% 29%

Independent (N= 219) 17% 26% 21% 24% 12% 43% 45%

11. In the context of the stand off with North Korea, who do you think is more likely to start an armed conflict?

Donald Trump, President of the United States Kim Jong UN, Supreme Leader of North Korea Both / About the same likelihood Neither Don’t know

Total (N= 1005) 15% 50% 22% 5% 7%

Democrat (N= 322) 24% 37% 29% 5% 6%

Republican (N= 357) 11% 72% 9% 3% 5%

Independent (N= 219) 11% 47% 28% 10% 5%

Total (N= 1005) 61% 56% 29% 24% 18% 17% 2%

Democrat (N= 322) 62% 51% 27% 31% 15% 17% *

Republican (N= 357) 63% 58% 34% 21% 21% 15% 1%

Independent (N= 219) 59% 66% 27% 24% 20% 18% 2%

12. How do you get most of your news?

Television Online / internet Social media (Twitter, Facebook) Print newspapers / magazines Radio Mobile News app None of the above

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Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S., Ipsos Public Affairs [email protected] +1 202 420-2025

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13. Of the choices listed below, which is your main source of television news?

CNN FOX News ABC NBC CBS MSNBC Public Television None of the above Other

Total (N= 1005) 36% 34% 26% 24% 22% 12% 11% 12% 5%

Democrat (N= 322) 49% 16% 27% 28% 21% 22% 14% 8% 5%

Republican (N= 357) 27% 56% 21% 21% 24% 6% 10% 9% 6%

Independent (N= 219) 31% 34% 31% 21% 20% 9% 10% 16% 6%

Total (N= 1005) 17% 12% 9% 7% 13% 11% 22% 2% 8%

Democrat (N= 322) 45% 32% 23% -

Republican (N= 357) 21% 42% 37% -

Independent (N= 219) 100% -

Total (N= 1005) 20% 46% 34%

Democrat (N= 322) 11% 45% 43%

Republican (N= 357) 27% 47% 26%

Independent (N= 219) 22% 47% 31%

14. With which political party do you most identify?

Strong Democrat Moderate Democrat Lean Democrat Lean Republican Moderate Republican Strong Republican Independent Other Don’t know/Refuse 15. How would you describe the area in which you live?

Rural Suburban Urban

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About the Study These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted September 11-12, 2017 on behalf of National Public Radio. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 322 Democrats, 357 Republicans, and 219 Independents. The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5). The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 6.2 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 5.9 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 7.6 percentage points for Independents. For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us. For more information on this news release, please contact: Chris Jackson Vice President, U.S. Ipsos Public Affairs +1 202 420-2025 [email protected] Julia Clark Senior Vice President, U.S. Ipsos Public Affairs +1 312 526-4919 [email protected] Clifford Young President, U.S. Ipsos Public Affairs +1 202 420-2016 [email protected]

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About Ipsos Public Affairs Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research. Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

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