A new poll released by Gallup has found that Americans view Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs as the greatest security threat their country faces.
99% of respondents characterized the development of nuclear weapons by Iran as a threat to the United States, with 83% saying it was a “critical threat” and 16% saying it was “important but not critical.” Only one percent of respondents said it was not an important threat.
The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program, a charge Tehran vehemently denies.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
83% of respondents also said that the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea’s nuclear program was a critical threat to the United States, with 14% saying it was important but not critical and three percent saying it was unimportant.
The survey was conducted from February 7-10 and thus before North Korea’s third nuclear test occurred.
Notably, Americans were much more sanguine about the countries that possesses nuclear weapons capable of reaching the United States, with 51% saying that China’s military power as a whole was a “critical threat” to the U.S., and a mere 29% saying the same about Russia. “The conflict between India and Pakistan” was said to be a “critical threat” by one-quarter of respondents, down from 32% in 2004.
This was the first time Gallup asked respondents specifically about Iran and North Korea’s development of a nuclear weapon.
The numbers were compiled through phone interviews of a random sample of 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Zachary Keck is assistant editor for The Diplomat.