Published June 15, 2009
A FOX News poll released Monday finds more than two-thirds of Americans say Obama has not been tough enough on North Korea (69 percent), while some 15 percent think his actions have been "about right" and 3 percent think he has been too tough.
Sizable majorities of Democrats (65 percent), Republicans (78 percent) and independents (61 percent) agree Obama should be tougher on North Korea. Among those voters who backed Obama in the 2008 presidential election, 59 percent say he has not been tough enough.
North Korea test-fired short-range missiles on two separate occasions in May. President Obama denounced the tests as a "grave threat to the peace and security of the world." And last week, in response to the tests, the United Nations Security Council expanded international sanctions against North Korea.
On Iran, the findings are almost identical: 66 percent overall say Obama has not been tough enough, including 57 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from June 9 to June 10 -- before the results of Iran's presidential election were announced and the ensuing civil unrest in that country. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
People are most concerned North Korea will sell nukes to terrorists. Twice as many say their main concern is North Korea selling nuclear weapons (41 percent), as say attacking the United States (18 percent). For 1 in 10 the top concern is North Korea attacking a nearby country (10 percent) such as Japan or South Korea. Nearly a quarter of Americans (24 percent) says they are equally concerned about all of these possibilities.
On Iran, again the top concern is selling nuclear weapons to terrorists (35 percent), followed by attacking Israel (23 percent) and attacking the United States or Europe (15 percent). The remaining 22 percent say "all."
There is widespread belief that President Obama made a mistake by announcing he was going to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay before having a plan for what would happen to the detainees.
Fully 77 percent of Americans think the president made a mistake, including almost all Republicans (94 percent) and independents (81 percent), as well as a majority of Democrats (61 percent).
A growing majority of Americans think the military prison at Guantanamo Bay should stay open. Some 60 percent say they think Gitmo should not be closed, up from 53 percent in April and 45 percent in January.
Republicans (82 percent) are more than twice as likely as Democrats (40 percent) to say the prison should stay open. Among independents, 62 percent think it should stay open.
The results are similar on the question of whether the prisoners should be transferred to prisons in the United States. Overall, 60 percent of voters are against moving the prisoners to the United States, up from 55 percent last month and 52 percent in January.
CIA versus Pelosi
On the issue of the CIA briefing Congress on interrogation techniques used on terrorist suspects, who do Americans believe -- the CIA, who says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the techniques or Nancy Pelosi, who says she was not briefed?
By 56 percent to 22 percent Americans believe the CIA over Pelosi.
Most Republicans (78 percent) and independents (56 percent) believe the CIA. Democrats are divided -- 38 percent believe the CIA and 38 percent Pelosi, while 10 percent say there is "some truth to both.