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Poll: Overwhelming Majority Of Americans Worried About Impending Major War

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The vast majority of Americans, 76 percent, are worried the U.S. will enter a major war within the next four years, according to an NBC News poll released Tuesday.

The number of Americans concerned about a large-scale military conflict has jumped 10 points since February, when 66 percent of those surveyed reported being concerned about the potential for war.

Respondents reported a wide-range of security concerns, but 41 percent agree that North Korea poses the greatest immediate threat to the U.S.

Concern about the potential for conflict with North Korea outpaced worry about the threat posed by ISIS, which was identified as the most urgent threat by 28 percent of respondents. Russia was selected as the most pressing threat by only 18 percent of those surveyed in the online poll conducted from July 10 to July 14.

Despite partisan division over the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, similar numbers of respondents from both sides of the aisle agreed North Korea is the most immediate threat facing the country. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaners, 42 percent say North Korea is the most immediate threat and 45 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners agree.

While there appears to be bipartisan agreement with respect to the seriousness of the North Korea threat, there is some partisan division regarding how best to address the threat. A strong majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaners (76 percent) favor a diplomatic approach while 56 percent of Republican and Republican-leaners say the U.S. should use mostly military action.

Tensions between North Korea and the U.S. have reached historic highs due to aggressive posturing by North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un, who recently ordered a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching Alaska. This provocation came shortly after American university student Otto Warmbier was returned to the U.S. with traumatic brain injuries, sustained during his captivity in North Korea where he was detained for attempting to steal a poster during a visit to the country.

Escalating tensions between North Korea and the U.S. resulted in a substantial increase in the number of respondents (59 percent) who reported feeling less safe from the North Korea threat than they did one year ago.

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