Post-ABC Poll: Public supports Trump-Kim meeting, but isn't getting its hopes up

Tuesday , April 17, 2018 - 5:51 AM

Emily Guskin

(c) 2018, The Washington Post.

Americans express low expectations that a planned meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump will lead North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, but a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds most support Trump participating in the meeting anyway.

Over half, 56 percent, say Trump should hold a summit meeting with Kim to try to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. A smaller 36 percent say the meeting should not be held because it would give Kim legitimacy while his government allegedly violates international law.

Three in 10 Americans think it is likely the meeting will lead to an agreement for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, but two-thirds of the public say that is unlikely, including 42 percent calling it “very unlikely,” according to the Post-ABC poll.

Trump and Kim have traded vague threats of using a “nuclear button,” but by a margin of nearly 2 to 1, Americans say Trump should not threaten U.S. military action against North Korea if it doesn’t give up its nuclear weapons.

Earlier this week, Kim met with a high-ranking Chinese diplomat in Pyongyang. He had met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month in an attempt to repair the two countries’ ties that have weakened with North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and China’s enforcement of U.N. sanctions. Trump has agreed to meet with Kim for talks later this year, and the U.S. president will welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week to strengthen their relationship ahead of Trump’s meeting with Kim.

There are modest partisan differences on support for holding a summit, with 70 percent of Republicans expressing support for the meeting while 46 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents saying the same. But majorities across partisan lines find it unlikely the meeting will lead to an agreement for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, including 77 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of independents and 58 percent of Republicans.

Partisans differ sharply when asked whether Trump should or should not threaten military action against North Korea if the country doesn’t give up its nuclear weapons. Majorities of Democrats (77 percent) and independents (67 percent) say Trump should not threaten military action, while a majority of Republicans (58 percent) say the president should make such threats if the country does not give up its weapons. There’s a split here on intensity: Over half of Democrats, 56 percent, say strongly that Trump should not threaten military action, while just about a third, 34 percent, of Republicans feel strongly that he should.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted April 8-11 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults reached on cell and landline telephones. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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The Washington Post’s Scott Clement contributed to this report.

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