Shallow optimism for Trump’s summit with North Korea
President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is poised to be the most popular action of his presidency so far, even though a new survey shows most Americans believe the eventual goal of any negotiations — “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” — will never happen.
A new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday lays out the short-term optimism from American voters on negotiations with North Korea: A broad 72 percent of American voters say they approve of the president’s meeting with the leader of the rogue regime. That includes half of Democrats.
But only 20 percent of Americans say they think North Korea will ever give up its nuclear weapons — the express purpose of any negotiations.
A wide 68 percent say Kim will never give them up. Even Republicans are pessimistic on the question, with 30 percent saying they will give them up vs. 47 percent who say they won’t.
It’s worth noting that, despite the pessimism about the ultimate outcome, more than twice as many Americans overall express positive views about the president’s readiness ahead for the meeting.
Americans are virtually evenly split on whether they have confidence in Trump ahead of the meeting — 49 percent do, 47 percent don’t — and whether he is prepared for the negotiations — 46 percent say he is, 48 percent say he isn’t.
The president tweeted on Tuesday morning that the summit “will hopefully be the start of something big,” adding that “we will soon see!”
Americans were similarly pessimistic several years ahead of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated under President Barack Obama. In a Pew Research Center survey in 2012, just three years before a final deal, only 21 percent of Americans said negotiations would work in getting Iran to give up its “nuclear program.” (The final deal banned Iran’s weapons-grade enriched uranium, but allowed for low-grade uranium enrichment for energy purposes. Trump has since promised to remove the U.S. from the deal.)
Asked about the specifics at a news conference in late April, Trump said denuclearization for North Korea “means they get rid of their nukes.”
South Korea insists North Korea intends to denuclearize as part of the negotiations.
The president is slated to sit down with the North Korean dictator in Singapore next Tuesday after canceling the summit last month.