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Republicans more friendly toward North Korea and Russia than ever

Staff Writer |
Americans' views of U.S.-North Korea relations remain negative, but less so than at their peak five years ago.

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Forty-six percent of Americans now describe North Korea as an enemy of the U.S., down from 58% in 2013. Meanwhile, the percentage regarding North Korea as an unfriendly nation rather than an enemy has risen, from 26% to 33%, as has the percentage viewing it positively, from 10% to 17%.

The latest results, from a July 2-8 Gallup poll, come after last month's high-profile summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and amid continuing high-level talks aimed at denuclearizing the Asian nation.

To date, there has been little apparent progress toward that goal, though both leaders remain publicly optimistic.

The percentage describing North Korea as a U.S. enemy has fallen back to the levels measured in 2003 through 2006, in the years after President George W. Bush branded the nation as part of an "axis of evil" along with Iran and Iraq. Significantly more Americans now view North Korea as a friendly nation (15%) than did so during that period.

But Americans' opinions of North Korea are still more negative than they were in prior Gallup polling from 2000, during a moratorium on nuclear testing tied to continued negotiations with the U.S. Five months before then-U.S.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited North Korea, 32% of Americans described the country as an ally or friendly nation, with 35% calling it unfriendly and 24% an enemy.

Since 2013, when North Korea announced it would continue its nuclear testing and described the U.S. as "the sworn enemy of the Korean people," Republicans' opinions of North Korea have changed the most.

The percentage of Republicans who describe North Korea as an enemy of the U.S. has fallen 22 percentage points, from 64% to 42%, in the past five years.

Independents are also significantly less likely to say North Korea is an enemy, with a decline of 14 points (59% to 45%). Democrats are about as likely as they were in 2013 to believe North Korea is an enemy.

Republicans' opinions about the state of U.S.-North Korea relations are now the least negative they have been since 2000. Nearly as many today (20%) as in 2000 (24%) regard it as an ally or friendly nation.

As the July 16 meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin approaches, majorities of Republicans and Democrats continue to believe U.S.-Russia relations are more negative than positive - defining the former Cold War foe as either an enemy or unfriendly to the U.S.

However, the percentage of Republicans calling Russia a friend or ally is up sharply since 2014, from 22% to 40%. Meanwhile, Democrats' views of the relationship have changed little, with 25% today vs. 28% in 2014 defining it positively.

Overall, 6% of Republicans now describe Russia as a U.S. ally, 34% as friendly but not an ally, 38% as unfriendly and 20% as an enemy. Among Democrats, 8% say Russia is an ally, 17% say it is friendly, 33% unfriendly, and 42% describe it as an enemy.


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