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Fox News Poll: Voters say take North Korea seriously

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April 23, 2013: A propaganda billboard, which reads "Forward to the Ultimate Victory" in Korean stands in central Kaesong, North Korea. For weeks, North Korea has threatened to attack the U.S. and South Korea for holding joint military drills and for supporting U.N. sanctions. Washington and Seoul said they've seen no evidence that Pyongyang is actually preparing for a major conflict, though South Korean defense officials said the North appears prepared to test-fire a medium-range missile. (AP)

American voters have divided views about whether North Korea has missiles that could hit the United States, yet most think threats from the country’s leader Kim Jong Un should be taken seriously, according to a new Fox News poll.

Some 48 percent of voters think North Korea has the ability to hit the U.S. with a nuclear missile.  Nearly as many -- 42 percent -- don’t think so.

CLICK TO VIEW THE FOX NEWS POLL

Political affiliation does not play a role:  Roughly equal numbers of Democrats (51 percent) and Republicans (49 percent) think it’s possible that the U.S. faces a real North Korean nuclear threat.

There’s more consensus among voters on the instability of Kim Jong Un:  74 percent think he’s “crazy” and his threats should be taken seriously.  One voter in five (20 percent), thinks the young leader is just trying to prove himself and his threats are empty.

North Korea has recently been threatening to conduct a missile test, and it has also declared a “state of war” with South Korea.  The United States has responded by moving military resources into the region and President Obama has condemned the North Korean regime’s behavior.

By a 45-36 percent margin, voters approve of the job Obama is doing on North Korea, one of his highest current ratings.  Nineteen percent are unsure.

The president’s job performance ratings are only higher in one area: Terrorism.  On that, voters approve by 55-37 percent.  

On the other issues tested in the poll -- the economy, immigration, gun control and the federal deficit -- the president receives negative job ratings.  

Despite the North Korean threat, foreign policy comes in last when voters are asked about the most important issue facing the country.  Just one percent thinks it should be the top priority.  The economy dwarfs all other issues to top the list (42 percent).  Next is the federal budget deficit (17 percent), followed by terrorism (9 percent), health care (7 percent), guns (5 percent), Social Security (5 percent) and immigration (4 percent).

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,009 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 20 to April 22.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.